Science of the City at the Amsterdam Science & Film Festival

The third edition of the Amsterdam Science & Film Festival will take place during the 18t, 19 and 20 of April. Over thirty scientific videos under the theme ‘Cities of the Future’ will be exhibited in four iconic institutions of Amsterdam: EYE Film Institute, Filmacademie, Nemo Museum and the Institut Français / Maison Descartes. Apart from the video screening, the public will have also the opportunity to participate in workshops and roundtables. The videos will enter in a competition and the last day of the festival the winners of the two categories ‘Grand Prix’ and ‘New Talent Award’ will be announced. Here you can check the full program of the Festival.

La Mandarina de Newton will be also present at this festival! The Science of the City videos produced by the Bijlmer children that participated in the workshop we organized in March, will be exhibited at the Nemo Museum on the 19th. As you might recall, this workshop was organized in collaboration with the Atelier des Jours à Venir and the New Urban Collective with the aim to motivate the kids to question and explore the science hidden in streets of Amsterdam.

We are eager to see the final result of the workshop during the Festival!


Critical Design Cycle: Presentation on Internal Contamination with Miquel Porta

Next Friday, January 18th, at our space in Gràcia, we will have a first presentation about the central topic of our cycle on critical design.

The focus is on “Internal Contamination”, i.e., the existance of persistant toxic materials in our body due to our interaction with our increasingly complex artificial environment. The whole problem will be presented by Dr. Miquel Porta, an internationally renowned researcher and expert in these subjects.
This is topic with a lot of implications, interwoven causes and complex webs of interests and behaviours. We thought it was a difficult “wicked problem” and we have decided to approach it from the perspective of “Critical Design” in order to create dilemmatic objects and open up a project to include designers, scientists, science communicators, educators and plain citizens.
The project is organized around several presentations and workshops that will take place from January to April 2013.

This is the first one and you are invited to join. If you are interested, please register through Eventbrite:

We expect to meet you at Espai Mandarina!.

The presenter.

We have the honor to have with us one of the most renowned experts in “internal contamination”: Dr. Miquel Porta.

Miquel Porta (Barcelona, ​​1957) is a physician and epidemiologist. He has promoted the integration of biological, clinical and socio-environmental knowledge in research and teaching of health sciences.

He is currently head of the Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer Unit at the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research (IMIM) in Barcelona. He is also Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His research focuses on: 1) the clinical and molecular epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, 2) ‘diagnostic delay’ and early detection of cancer, and 3) the health effects of persistent toxic compounds. He belongs to the editorial boards of several international journals, and has published over 300 scientific papers in international journals. He has taught in numerous American and European universities, including Imperial College (London) and Harvard, where he enjoyed a sabbatical. He has been president of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, of the European Epidemiology Federation, and of Científicos por el Medio Ambiente.

Miquel Porta believes that scientific leadership must be projected beyond the academic world and, therefore, he intervenes occasionally in the media, such as the newspaper El País. His latest non-scientific article (whose title is “Las quiero a morir”) is à propos Spotify and the massive enjoyment of music (published in the January-February 2013 issue of  the journal ”Claves de Razón Práctica”).

進化 -Jinhuà: from image to science, from science to design

A collaboration between La Mandarina de Newton and the Science Section of the Barcelona Ateneu. 



Tools for innovation from hybridization

On november 27th Irene Lapuente presented the La Mandarina de Newton own approach to creativity and innovation at the Fòrum CEICS of Innovation, which was hosted by the South Mediterranean Innovation Hub. Her presentation was titled “Tools for innovation from hybridization“:

In this conference world renowned experts presented different approaches to innovation to an audience of researchers, enterpreneurs and business people. Irene, presented a colourful view of innovation and stressed the importance of personal attitude and the importance of arriving at your own methods of innovation by deep reflection and continuous exploration, both individually and with others. Also she stressed the need to be smart and integrate some of the methods that very creative people across very different projects in Art, Design, Technology and Science have develop. In doing so, she showed the idiosyncratic “Mix, Learn, Transform” approach to innovation that we follow at La Mandarina de Newton where each project is unique and requires a fine tuning of methods and synergies.

Eines per a la innovació "La capacitat per innovar es pot entrenar i aprendre mitjançant eines diverses"

During the conference it was possible to listen to renowned experts such as Amnon Levav CEO of Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) from Israel; Joan Cortés director of LTC Project from Barcelona Pär Blanking, director d’Innovació de Borders Crossing al Regne Unit and George Por, an expert in collective intelligence. Discussions with all of them where interesting and lively and may lead to further collaboration.

It was very conforting to see that in the middle of such a crisis as the one that we are going through universities and innovators dare to speak together and develop a better future.
We hope that our hybrid approach also helps in improving things through creativity and innnovation.

Eines per a la innovació "La capacitat per innovar es pot entrenar i aprendre mitjançant eines diverses"


ICT Case 2012 solved! At last, we know the name of the winners

The most intriguing mystery of  ICT Case 2012, has been solved. Finally we know the name of the winners of this micro-stories competition.  In total we have received 88 short stories,  composed with less than 800 words, around Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). An outstanding participation rate indeed, 56 stories witten by Upper Primary Education students and 22 stories created by Secondary School students, coming from 13 different schools.

The call for was jointly managed by the L’Altra Ràdio of Radio 4, the Departament d’Ensenyament, La Mandarina of Newton and the science teacher and writer of literature of intrigue, Jordi de Manuel.


Winners and finalists
These are the micro-stories rated by the jury:

Higher Primary Category
Winner: The supercomputer, designed by Marc Bosch Galdeano, 5th year student at the Col·legi Sant Miquel (Barcelona). Teacher coordinator: Montse Coderch
Finalists: Supercomputers (Antoni Sisó Farré), A world without A (Adrià Cavero ) and Reasons of the Heart (Laura Arribas). Students of Col·legi Sant Miquel (Barcelona).

Secondary School Category
Winner: No signal, designed by Deborah Ramirez, Felix Guijarro, Soraya Alcayada, Areli Fernández, Cristina Ruiz, Daniele Lenoir, Juan Salguero, Reading Group of 2th of ESO . Joan Miró Institute (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat). Teacher coordinator: Meritxell Monsonís.
Finalists: New intelligence (Judith Parés de Tera) and Colors (Mireia Martínez Rubio), works created by students of the Montgròs Institute (Sant Pere de Ribes), and Diary of a fellow (Laia Fernández Villanueva) of Princess Margaret School (Barcelona).

General Category
Winner: Zzzzmmm, work of Esteve Martorell i Esteve
Finalists: The importance of having an iPod (Marco Felipe) IES Vicens Vives (Girona), The Rose Club (Isabel Bonany Solà) and The Mysterious katana (Jesus Martin Rivera).


The jury of ICT Case 2012 has been composed by:
Jordi de Manuel, writer (President).
Irene Lapuente, physics and founder of La Mandarina de Newton
Pitu Martínez, teacher and specialist in ICT for education.
Cinto Niqui, journalist and director of L’Altra Ràdio


The radio version is still in process …
All winning entries and finalists will be posted on the website of L’Altra Ràdio and the Co-Creating Cultures Blog of La Mandarina Newton. The three winning entries will be re-adapted in radio version and will be broadcasted by L’Altra Ràdio in June 2012. This edition will also include the radio version of the  Guatzsap short story, written for the ICT Case of 2012 by Jordi de Manuel.


…And as an invitation to co-create on the Internet
La Mandarina de Newton will make several open proposals for co-creating nano-stories through social networks to all Internet users. A new story will be co-created each week during the month of June, starting with the first sentence of the three winning stories and the story Guatzsap. This initiative, called “To Be Continued …” will propose the participants to continue the story by adding new sentences starting from the first one. The co-creative process will take place in parallel

This co-creation will take place in parallel on the Co-Creating Cultures Blog, Co-Creating Cultures Facebook and Twitter @cocreatingcult. New nano-sories (even shorter stories) will be created inspired by the begginings by the beginnings of the winning stories and built from the participation of several people. Modelling the evolution of the same history across different platforms will provide us a wide variety of rich and interesting stories.


TalentLab: Amongst Intelligent Machines–session II

The second session of the “Amongst Intelligent Machines” workshop, from the TalentLab project, took place on March 21st. On arrival, we resumed the groups of the previous session and we started working. First we warmed up engines with an activity that sought to recover and share ideas from the first session. Thus, each group summarized the main lines that define the resources proposed in the brainwritting or fast rain of resources.

After being placed, we got straight to the matter and the groups were proposed to specify a single resource proposal. The proposals were constructed by combining knowledge (imagination, experience, talent, etc.) and available materials (clay, ribbons, sticks, balls, etc.).

The first group came up with a platform (or box) from wich emerged challenges to be solved by users based on his knowledge of constraints. The challenges could be to design an urban ecosystem management (dams, nuclear plants, etc..) and the users would be different educational centers proposing solutions based on collaborative work. The second group proposed a game that could be physical (boardgame) or virtual designed to exercise how to make decisions and work with values (money, culture, welfare, autonomy, etc.) in connection with the introduction of technology in society. The aim of this dynamic would be to show the influence of values when citizens of a given society make their own decisions. The third group conceived of a resource that would combine computers and robotics in order to work collaboratively. The idea is that two computers or users should design a common task to be performed by two robots like, for instance, two units transporting an object together. To accomplish the goal both robots should establish communication successfully, using Scratch programming to design and simulate the robotics tasks.

When the proposals were enough defined, we proceed with a series of iterations in order to improve them. The groups were divided so that one half stayed to defend the proposal in front of “potential users” posing doubts and exposing limitations. The other half went to see the proposal of another group putting on the skin of the “person” defined in the first session. After iterating a couple of times, each group shared the contributions made by other participants, identified certain deficiencies and incorporated new elements from the suggestions received. Thus, the first group saw the need to limit the approach of the platform to a single challenge with goals that should be defined. The second group incorporated the idea that the issues raised should be based on specific situations (such as a daughter that leaves her mother one afternoon with a robot companion). It was stated that the differences in values would emerge more clearly from this kind of situations. Also, he suggested the possibility that the users ponder by themselves the values associated with certain activities. Moreover, was made known the existence of similar resources as the Deliberatorium MIT or a card game. The third group saw the need to establish some kind of sensor-based communication between robots.

Later, participants were required to assess in more detail the main aspects of the resource to design (philosophy, theme, methodology, requirements, problems, budget) and these considerations were exposed to the other groups. Once done, there was a vote (I can’t remember the name of the voting system used). The most voted proposal was ArgumentaTIC, created by the second group, although all were well balanced and fairly valued. The possibility to incorporate aspects of the first and third proposals to the chosen proposal was also discussed.From now on we have to work on this proposal and see if it is possible to perform with the available resources, and other to come from other sources (sponsors) or if is more convinient to produce it at a later stage.

In the final reflection, some participants expressed their interest in seeing the work done in the workshop translated into an educational resource. A point shared by the organizing team, who reiterated the idea of producing educational resources arising from a process of co-creation, as one of the goals of this project. But at the same time, the team stressed the importance of the working process by itself, ie, the fact of involving teachers and researchers, the working dynamics, contacts established (worknetting) etc.

With this workshop we end the series of workshops planned for this year. Hopefully we will see soon the educational resources produced. We also hope that next year we can make the second edition, coming with with new topics (archeology, marine sciences, astronomy, etc.) and work together with more research centers that are asking for more activities. New workshops and new resources.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC.
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


TalentLab: Among intelligent machines – session I

Last Wednesday we conducted the first session of the workshop “Among intelligent machines,” in the Research Institute in Artificial Intelligence IIIA (CSIC). This was part of the TalentLab project.

An intensive work program was scheduled for that day, starting with a site visit guided by David Sierra. His explanations helped to introduce ourselves to the different research lines undertaken at the institute, including a demonstration of dog-like robotic football players to explain how they manage machine learning.

After entering the work room, participants were divided into three groups and we began the session itself. In the inspiration stage, common ideas emerged within each group, although with different approaches. The first group  suggested the idea that “everything is connected,” and proposed a kind vision about technology, based on thought and physical reality (people, nature), combined with the use of the network and the “cloud”. This framework of connections could collapse under pressure of cutbacks. The second group drew some “axes” to be positioned between the “information chaos” of the network and the abstract order, on the one hand, and the boundaries between utopia (thought) and reality, on the other. These axes guide the use of technologies by people in everyday life and decision making. The third group showed the role of people in the “choice of the future” desired, taking into consideration knowledge, people and their own needs. They placed the dichotomy between two realities according to the role of technology: one supporting autonomy, responsibility and sustainability and another that creates dependency, is unsustainable and wants to control.

Then, the three groups proceeded to imagine the newsworthy events of an 8th March 2025. The predominance of digital format and new ways of communication were highlighted, while the shortcomings of infrastructure to bring connectivity to schools and the problem of energy resources were evidenced, as well as the possibility to have cars autonomously driven or the incorporation of robots in real life. There were also some coincidences in imagining a return to the pesseta (old currency). Regarding user profiles, was deeply discussed the idea of curiosity among young people, despite their lack of perseverance in completing tasks. Music, sports and technology were highlighted as main interests of this target group deeply based on friendship and social relations. Other comments pointed to their ability of not being always faithful to the truth or trying to invent excuses somehow suspicious.

Considering the ideas, concepts and debates hold during the three previous exercises, participants in each group did a quick brainwriting about educational resources that could allow teachers to work with technology and artificial intelligence in the classroom. Among all the proposals, the first group showed a preference for generating a networked resource that would promote an individual game to work with ecology and/or musical issues. They envisioned the possibility of linking this resource with robots or virtual reality, make it fun and, if possible, multi-platform. The second group proposed an online resource intended to promote collaboration for solving a current problem or challenge. Finally, the third group proposed work in a cross-resource that include patience as an ability to be learned.

In coming  days we will evolve ideas and we will continue with our work dynamics next session to help us define an unique educational resource.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC.
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


Social Currency in Museums

Image Capture_StreetMuseum App

We put limits to ourselves, I believe, by measuring the value of things only in terms of monetary value. Our happiness is not only measurable by this value. That is why the expression social currency called my attention. Both words together give another dimension: the word “social” giving human value to the word “currency”. I decided investigate on it.

Currency is what a person earns to be active in his/her community, network or social organization. The value of this currency is measured in each exchange by its reach, resonance, influence and social impact. “Social currency increases one’s sense of community, granting access to information and knowledge, helping to form one’s identity, providing status and recognition” (def. Wikipedia). This is the content that generates conversation. The content must include all the elements that define social currency for people to share it and enrich it.

In our lives, our social currency are our relationships with our family and community, our reputation, love, entertainment and culture. The new technologies and the online social networks have empowered people and entities to enrich their social currency by their actions and words, giving them more weight. Before, museums, only gave access to their collections. Thank to the technologies, museums of today are able to serve their community giving them the right answers, thus providing them with a higher social currency.

¿How to apply social currency in museums?

The International Council of Museums gives a beautiful definition of a museum: “Museums allow people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment”.

To answer to their mission, museums must know very well their community to identify the challenges they can answer from their entities. Thus, they must answer to the following questions: What could I bring to my community from my capital (that is collection, ressources, expertise, etc.)? What is my community missing to be spiritually happy? How can I enrich it? What are the conflicts or problems that it is suffering from?

Following, we will talk about few digital tools that allow to apply social currency to museum projects. They bring knowledge to the community and generate conversation and interaction in both ways between museums and their communities.

A Wiki is a Web site that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked Web pages via a web browser. The most famous example is Wikipedia. In the museum field, the GLAM-WIKI project allows GLAMs (i.e. Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) to use the Wikipedia platform to give access of their content to the public to be reused freely. This tool allows the public and the museum to generate social currency; the public using the content, the museum getting closer to its community and obtaining visibility.

The Augmented Reality is a vision of the real world enriched by virtual elements in real time and 3D. An excellent use of it is what the Museum of London did with its StreetMuseum iPhone app. It used the images of its collection to tell the story of London at that time: the application took the museum to the street guiding users to over 200 locations in London telling them the story of the city at the time of the images. The GPS of the phone places the images of the museum’s collection on a map of London. Depending on where the user was, he could access to 2D images of the collection of this particular location. With another click, the users of the iPhone 3GS could have a 3D view. The picture of the post illustrates the augmented reality effect applied to a museum project.

The QR Code connects the physical world to the digital world. It’s a 2D code whose content can be decoded at high speed. It allows to put in practice the Tales of Things theory that grants an object of real life to have a digital memory. The museums link a QR code to objects of its physical collection (works of art, photos, etc.) and link it up with an online video, an audio or a text that tells the story of this object. The use of QR codes raises thank to smartphones and its cameras that can scan the code.
The QRator project gives a step further asking the participation of the user and creates a communication in both ways, between the user and the institution. In this case, the QR code links objects of the museum to an online database. It grants the public to have access to curated information but also gives him the opportunity to communicate his own interpretation of the object via a mobile device and the interactive digital labels. The public opinion is stored and is shown next to the curated content and belongs to the story of this object. Other users can comment on the new content created.

We observe that to offer high impact social currency, museums link few technologies and various concepts together. The application of the StreetMuseum required, on a technical level, a smartphone (iPhone) with a GPS and an Internet connection, plus the augmented reality. It linked as well the museum online database and the Tales of Things theory. The result was very innovative and generated a ludic educational experience. It also allowed the experience to be shared with the community. The QRator project linked up an online database, the QR Code technology and the interactive digital labels. It used as well Twitter to mantain alive an online presence of the objects.


To come to a conclusion, I will quote Wayne Labar from the Liberty Science Center, that will be at the “Taller 2.0: de la interacción a la cocreación (in english, workshop 2.0: from interaction to cocreation) on September 14th and 15th at the CCCB: “The ideal museums are gyroscopic. Similar to the gyroscope, the museum corresponds to relationships with visitors that can respond in freely in some or all directions and being relevant in spite of changes in content and the surrounding world.” The museum must connect its practices to the new forms of experience, education and reflexion that will give it the possibility to offer high social currency. It is made possible through technology and social networks. The final objective is to provoke a social impact for the value of this impact to convert into a new monetary value for the community.



Photo Credit:


The “Science of the City” video contest starts today!!

Today officially starts the “Science of the City Video Contest“.  You can find more information at The Tech Virtual new website.

Look at your city with a different perspective. This time, instead  of searching for shops, streets and restaurants, look for scientific finding: snails, fossils, LED, chemical reactions, etc.  Think about a scientific experiment and test it in your city: Newton’s laws, fluids laws, chemistry laws… Or make yourself a question! These are the three categories of this video contest:

Once you have chosen a topic, you can make observations, wonder, get information, run an experiment, use your imagination or ask us. Finally, you can create a 2 minutes video and upload it to “Science of the City“. You can win one of the 7 prizes offered!

We will build an exhibition with the better and most voted videos and with the tags you use.  Do not hesitate and enjoy the experience of creating a different, freak, creative, imaginative, funny video. You can be part of a collective scientific exhibition!

The contest starts now and it will last three months. We will announce regular meetings to co-create the most scientific and original videos ever seen!!

You can also find us in Facebook:

Keep in contact!!


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