Johanne de Leon
Founder of Science Tours CPH, MSc. in physics and mathematics, based in Charlottenlund/Copenhagen, Denmark.
I was thinking; let’s combine the history of science with a stroll in Copenhagen!. What could be better!? I love the fabulous stories, fun facts, quotes and myths related to science and tech. I’m also a mother of two and a science teacher/communicator based in Charlottenlund, just north of Copenhagen. I teach physics and mathematics at a high school in Østerbro, Copenhagen, and mathematics at DTU, The Danish Technical University. In particular, I find it interesting how science develope. Often, it is surprising stories, entirely different from what you expect. I strongly believe, that – a long stretch of the way – these matters can be explained in a non-complicated way to anyone who is curious. That is exactly my primary goal of Science Tours CPH; to explain the science in an easy-to-comprehend way, without compromising the science!
Update spring 2023
These days I am curious about how the discoveries came about… Was it really like a lightning striking ⚡? The scientists communicated the discoveries, but what really happened, what were the circumstances of the discovery? When you dive into that question, it turns out that each scientist and discovery seems to be emerged in a soup of events; events that helped the discovery on the way to fame, such as the scientific environment, social and personal circumstances, people they met, methods they knew of and so on. No scientist is an island! This does not take away the genius of the scientists such as Tycho Brahe, Hans Christian Ørsted and Niels Bohr, but it may encourage future discoverers to see, that what usually didn’t happen was an old man with Einstein-hair that had some sort of lightning striking ⚡or magical light bulb appearing. Another interesting question in history of science is; should we only learn about the science that led to the science of today? Is “science” really a linear thing, a sequence of discovery after discovery, success after success? What about all the abandoned ideas, the discussions and the experiments that “went wrong”? – are they not also an important part of science? The things that turned out to be wrong carries great knowledge that may contribute to get the full picture of the science of today.
Update spring 2021:
What have I been up to this last year, the Corona year, that did not do a whole lot of good to a new busines of science tourism? Well, it’s not all that bad! In the spring of 2020 I engaged myself in the exciting course History of Quantum Mechanics at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen. This course is highly recommendable! Brush up on the foundation of quantum theory and quantum mechanics – wow! Reading the original works of Einstein, Planck, Bohr, Schrödinger and Heisenberg is exciting, hard work and just amazing and surprising in a very nerdy kind of way. The equations that I had worked with earlier in my studies made so much more sense, when taking the historical approach. In the summer of 2020, I participated as a guide at the exhibition in The Round Tower in Copenhagen: “H.C. Ørsted anew – The Beauty in Nature!” in celebration of the 200 years of electromagnetism. It was great fun and very giving to talk to so many visitors in the Round Tower. The exhibition showed with great clarity the importance of Ørsted’s contributions to physics, chemistry and medicin, and his invaluable rôle in science development in Denmark. For a while, I have -like so many other teachers- been working from home on Zoom and Teams, trying to teach my students from afar (“So, class – who’s got a thermometer, kitchen scale and some nails at home? Let’s measure the specific heat capacity of those nails… in your kitchen… yes, you may use a potato instead of nails”).
Update fall 2021:
This semester (fall 2021) we have been lucky to be back in school, which is such a releif -on the whole a much better teaching environment than sitting alone online on Zoom in front of the screen. Also, I am now a math teacher at DTU, The Danish Technical University – great fun to teach university levels and a good opportunity to read up on my linear algebra, complex numbers and differential equations! And finally – finally! -science tourists are back – I am so greatful! Winther is coming and Copenhagen will dress accordingly with lights , stars, hearts and Christmas trees everywhere – and maybe snow (I hope!). A good time to stroll through town and talk about science!