Cultural trip around the laboratories of the world

I would like to invite you on a journey to meet natural scientists from around the world. This trip will bring answers to many of the following questions. How much do you know about the conditions for science in developing countries? How much do you know about the people that wrote the last paper you have read? About their labs, their problems and chances in life? Their value system, their culture, their religion?

Science helps understand our world. It is a synonym for progress and the reason for the extinction of diseases. Scientists themselves often start smiling when talking about the scientific community. Despite all the competition in science, we are still some kind of helpful family. It guarantees support and cooperation. And sometimes even a fun night with wine and cheese.

When I was working in my lab in Germany I did not just enjoy science, I was a part of this international club. I learned about science, but I also learned about foreign cultures from my Asian, South American and African friends and colleagues. But to really understanding where they come from is not just like reading the protocol of a new experiment. It is a long and difficult process, where you have to be a good listener and observer, but you also need patience and respect.

As a European scientist working in collaboration with colleagues from across the world, I have been wondering about many puzzling questions. Why do Indians seem to be so shy sometimes? Why do Taiwanese bend their back when passing you on the corridor? What do Muslims think about the non-believers in their labs?

I wanted to find out the answers to these questions. So I left the lab, jumped on a plane and started a trip around the world to meet all those scientists in their own countries, in their own labs. The project is called One World One Lab. My plan is to visit eight developing and developed countries with different cultures, different religions and different political systems. I am travelling with a backpack, a camcorder and hundreds of questions.

In the end I want to produce eight documentary movies. Eight windows into foreign worlds. I want to share my experiences with everybody who is interested in their foreign colleagues and cultures. It could help to overcome cultural barriers. It could also give insights into science worlds that usually stay in the hidden.

These documentaries will not be focusing too much on the results of research projects themselves. They are more about science in general. They are also about opinions, chances and problems. About the interactions of science and society, religion and social problems such as poverty or governmental restrictions. But in the same time a big part of each movie will also be about cultural aspects, customs, street life, food, nature and fun things. All movies will be on YouTube, free and easy to watch for everyone.

In the end I want to provide a full picture of what’s going on in the lives of research colleagues, including as many facets of their daily struggles as possible. And make it fun!

This trailer is a short appetiser, a summary about all the experiences I made this year so far. In the first seven countries I met amazing people, extremely helpful and interesting friends. I met people who tried everything to introduce me to their lives and made me understand it.

Hope you like it.

Feel free to comment below and share your reactions.

Christian Stern

Founder One World One Lab.

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