Passion for Knowledge 2023 press conference. Registrations are now open!

2023 Sep 4

Passion for Knowledge 2023 press conference. Registrations are now open!
From left to right, Ricardo Díez Muiño (Director of DIPC), Pedro Miguel Etxenike (President of DIPC) and Jokin Bildarratz (Minister of Education of the Basque Government) at the press conference in el Teatro Victoria Eugenia, main venue of the event.

Organised by the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), the Passion for Knowledge (P4K) 2023 science festival will be attended by eight Nobel Prize winners and a great cast of prestigious international scientists who have led some of the most significant discoveries in recent decades. A luxury within everyone's reach and which aims to celebrate in style every step that science has taken for the benefit of humanity.

The Passion for Knowledge festival arrives with a fresh image and an extensive programme of activities aimed at all audiences. Science will be dressing up in style to share its latest findings with the general public in a new edition of the festival that will take place in Donostia-San Sebastian, Bilbao and other locations from October 2 to 7.

Passion for Knowledge sets out to promote science as a key cultural activity to contribute to the well-being of the future generations and to highlight knowledge as the driving force of scientific, technological and cultural progress. The programme is complemented by a whole series of activities geared towards various audiences: large gatherings with secondary school students, informative sessions for young researchers, exhibitions, children's workshops, shows, sessions with bertsolaris (extempore Basque verse makers), popularization with Naukas collaborators and streamers, projections, and much more.

The plenary lectures, which will be taking place during the afternoons at the festival's main venue, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, are the hallmark of the festival's extensive programme. Guided by various Nobel laureates and prestigious international figures from a range of scientific disciplines, members of the public will be able to get a closer look at such widely varying subjects, such as quantum physics, chemistry, smart biomaterials, botany and biotechnology. This year's guests include Özlem Türeci, key player in the race for the Covid-19 vaccine; Didier Queloz (Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019), discoverer of the first exoplanet; Jean-Pierre Sauvage (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016), designer of molecular machines; Donna Strickland, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 for her pioneering research in the field of lasers; Dario Gil, Vice-President of IBM and Director of IBM Research where the world's largest research laboratory in quantum computing operates; and Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, the discoverer of pulsars. A luxury within everyone's reach, with additional special sessions at the Euskalduna Conference Centre and the CAF company in Beasain.

In line with what has also become a tradition, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre will also be the venue for enjoying the Bertso Passion show, which brings together leading exponents of bertsolaritza, such as Maialen Lujanbio, Amets Arzallus, Nerea Ibarzabal and Andoni Egaña; or the well-known Naukas Passion sessions, in which various personalities in science communication and popularisation at a national level will be taking part. The festival will also be welcoming a new format this year with the Streamers Sessions in which the best national streamers of scientific content will be taking to the stage to share their knowledge on the latest developments relating to various scientific and technological issues.

In this new edition of the festival the huge Gatherings involving secondary school and sixth form students and leading researchers will also be held in Donostia-San Sebastian and Bilbao, with the participation of 5 Nobel Laureates. The main mission of the gatherings is to awaken a curiosity for science among young people and to inspire scientific vocations with a particular emphasis on women. The Gatherings are supported by Telefónica, EDP and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). A unique opportunity enabling the passion for knowledge to drench young students. To participate in these Gatherings schools need to reserve their place before 8 September via the festival website:

What is more, 'STROM - Inclusive Astronomy' will be inaugurated within the framework of the festival; this is an innovative astronomy exhibition that will be opening the doors to inclusion, with accessible tactile, sound and audiovisual experiences, in which the surface of galaxies and the craters of the Moon can be explored with one's fingers, or the sounds of the Sun can be listened to. The exhibition, conceived and developed by the DIPC in collaboration with Tabakalera for the Passion for Knowledge festival, will be open to the public from 4 to 31 October on the third floor of Tabakalera.

In addition, over the weekend the Sala Club of the Victoria Eugenia Theatre will be hosting Passion Txiki, a mini science festival for kids that will include workshops on experiments, scientific storytelling, games, etc. made possible by the collaboration of the Kutxa Fundazioa.

Passion for Knowledge 2023 is possible thanks to the ongoing support of the DIPC's patrons: the Basque Government –through the Department of Education, and Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness–, the Chartered Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Donostia-San Sebastian City Council, Kutxa Fundazioa, Telefónica, EDP and CAF, as well as specific funding from the Basque Government's Department of Education and Innovation Fund.

At the press conference Pedro Miguel Etxenike highlighted the idea that has always guided the DIPC: "Science as a cultural value and transforming seed", stressing the need for critical thinking in times of information overload and fake news. When inviting everyone to take part in this festival of knowledge, the DIPC's chairman quoted Hypatia in his speech: "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all."
Ricardo Díez-Muiño, the DIPC's director, was keen to emphasise that "Donostia-San Sebastian is a city of science and knowledge, home to world-class research institutions. In this context, a festival as unique as Passion for Knowledge is a natural extension of this activity to the general public, an opportunity to share the fascination for knowledge among all of us. Festivals like ours are difficult to come by across the world."
To conclude the presentation, Jokin Bildarratz, Minister of Education of the Basque Government, pointed out that "for the Basque Government and the Department of Education, science, technology and innovation policy is a priority and it is so, fundamentally, because it is also a priority for Basque society. Knowledge is a public asset belonging to everyone, extending it is a matter of public interest and disseminating it is the best way to democratise it. In this sense, the Passion for Knowledge science festival is a luxury, it gives us the opportunity to offer different activities to students, teachers and parents".

All the activities scheduled during the festival will be free of charge. An interpreting service into Basque, Spanish and English will be available. The main sessions taking place at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre will be streamed live via the festival's website and via on its Kosmos portal ( dedicated to popularisation, science, knowledge and technology. The sessions will also be broadcast live on the EITB's YouTube channel  and once the event is over, they can be watched in the Kosmos section of the Euskal Irrati Telebista website, and on its Nahieran portal, which allows content to be enjoyed on demand, whenever and wherever one wishes.

Anyone wishing to participate in the various activities of Passion for Knowledge (P4K) 2023 is advised to register and reserve a place via the festival website. To get all the latest news, sign up for the festival newsletter.