The 2016 Research Day began with an introduction by the ENAC Dean Marilyne Andersen and the directors of the institutes of architecture, civil, and environmental engineering. This was followed by presentations by professors representing the institutes, punctuated with a series of three-minute talks by PhD students, including by ENAC’s own Justine Gay-Des-Combes, the audience award winner of the “My Thesis in 180 Seconds” contest held on campus last year.
“Serendipity Encounters” came next. Participants were shuffled into small interdisciplinary groups and given ten minutes to think up research projects at their intersection between their areas of expertise. Ten-minute sessions morphed into fifteen-minute sessions by popular demand, as people became better acquainted with each other and discovered ever-larger areas of overlap and mutual research interests.
Science was on display in the Archizoom Exhibition Hall, and everyone was invited to partake in experimental demonstrations and explore some of the cutting edge research carried out at ENAC. From stream biofilms to coral polyps, from innovative wooden vaults to avalanches, the academic diversity of the faculty was visible across a dozen stands.
The ENAC Affinity Map, a graphical visualization of the interactions across the faculty, took center stage at the event. Printed onto a 250 m2 carpet, rolled out in the SG Hall, attendees could be seen walking across the giant infographic in search of their labs, their names, and their sometimes unexpected affinities with other research groups. In the background, a 15-meter long wooden mural illustrating the many research fields pursued at ENAC became increasing dotted with colorful cards, each bearing the title of a research topic spawned by the brainstorming sessions.