Campus and Community

Science and humour at PhD Open Days 2019

The 5th edition of PhD Open Days took place this week and included a workshop by the comedian Ricardo Araújo Pereira.

The PhD Open Days took place on 9th and 10th April. The event included a permanent poster exhibition with the most recent research developments made by PhD students, a Tech Exhibition, several lectures, an alumni session, a Pitch Competition and a Workshop by the comedian Ricardo Araújo Pereira, entitled “How to speak in public?”, which was the highlight of this year’s edition.

Astrophysics, aerothermodynamics and robotics were some of the topics addressed by the keynote speakers. According to professor Miguel Ayala Botto, Vice-president of the Scientific Council, “Técnico has the best students and is the best Portuguese engineering school, so we had to bring the best Portuguese comedian to Técnico”.

Ricardo Araújo Pereira was challenged to explain the audience how to speak in public. “I don’t understand why people who talk about astrobiology and robotic navigation for neurosurgery can’t speak well in public”, said the comedian, who considers that people fear to speak in public because “we judge the others when they talk to an audience. Then, we fear that people will discover we are a fraud. And this is even more flagrant in my case”, he added.

The comedian gave some advice about speaking in public. “We need to play down the fear of public speaking. The worst thing that can happen is a bad speech. Things will get much easier if you simplify them”, said Ricardo Araújo Pereira. “To a certain extent, it’s important that we show our vulnerability when we speak in public because it can be our greatest strength”, he added.

Ricardo Araújo Pereira shared that everytime he takes the stage “I get terrified because, although my experience, I still don’t understand why do some people laugh when others do not”.

Professor Luís Oliveira e Silva, president of the Scientific Council, closed the 5th edition of PhD Open Days. “I am very pleased to see this room full of people to celebrate the work carried out by PhD students, which are over 1000”.