Everything is almost done: online registration closed, programme book printed, conference venue being prepared and first attendees from overseas have already arrived to Finland, just in time for the traditional midsummer celebrations. Helsinki is ready to welcome WCSJ2013 on next Monday!
When the registration closed on Sunday evening, the total number of attendees surpassed 800 and as we expect some dozens more, finally we may be up to around 850 persons at the WCSJ2013.
If you have not registrated yet and would like to come along, it’s possible. The on-site registration desk will be located at the Porthania building of the university (Yliopistonkatu 3) and will be open daily from Monday to Thursday (10:00-16:00 on Monday, 07:30-16:00 on Tuesday and 08:00-16:00 on Wednesday and Thusday).
Majority of the post-conference tours and social events are fully booked, but some places are still avalable and you can always ask for cancellations in the most popular events. Some new ones has also been added to accommodate as many persons as possible: one of the most interesting new events is an evening at the National Archives of Finland on Wednesday.
The Conference venue
Talking about the Porthania, a modernist white building from the late 1950s, it is one of the several buildings of theUniversity of Helsinki near the Senate Square and Kruununhaka city district in the very heart of the city.
As it extends around the historical centre of Helsinki, this largest concentration of faculties of the University is called the City Centre Campus. It is also includes the old main building and the administrative parts of the University.
The buildings used by the conference are Porthania and the Main Building, separated by about 100 m walk (or 300 m from the main door to main door). The exhibition is also divided in these two buildings.
The campus is home to the Departments of Theology, Law, Arts, Education and Social Sciences. The Helsinki University Library (the national library of Finland) and the new Learning Centre Aleksandria, open for university students and staff alike, are also found in the City Centre Campus. The City Centre Campus is the place to be when one wants to enjoy the academic atmosphere rich in tradition.
After the Great Fire of Turku, old capital of Finland, in 1827, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia ordered the Royal Academy of Turku to be moved from Turku to the new capital city of the Grand Duchy of Finland, Helsinki, where this “Imperial Alexander University of Finland” began to operate the next year.
Helsinki was to become Finland’s window to the world, a European city to which the university belonged as an integral part. Therefore Carl Ludvig Engel, a reputed German architect, was given the assignment of designing an Empire-style Senate Square, including the the Imperial Senate (now the Palace of the Council of State) and, facing to it, the main building of the University. Thanks to the lessons learnt from the fire of Turku, the library was built separate from other premises.
Engel designed also the new Observatory for the University (now called Old Observatory), located just some hundreds of metres away from the main building, on the top of Tähtitorninmäki Hill. It is now officially part of the Helsinki University Museum, which has an exhibition in the Arppeanum building in a corner of Senate Square.
The plan concerning the concentration of university facilities dating back to the 1980s, aimed to achieve a closer unity between facilities. The City Centre Campus does not stand out from the rest of the urban environment but is a part of the city, in line with the old university tradition. The university facilities still form a functional and coherent whole, consisting not only of historically valuable buildings, but also of facilities for 20,000 students and 3,000 teachers and other staff.
In whole, University of Helsinki is an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 17 other locations. It’s one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world – and also one of the most important sponsors of the WCSJ2013.
Seeing around in Helsinki
Helsinki Region Transport has kindly granted free traveling rights to all registered delegates in all public transportation in the Helsinki area (bus, tram, Metro, and public ferries to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress). Atravel card and instructions for its use will be included in your registration package.
The www.visithelsinki.fi website is a good way to find best of the city and there’s many interesting mobile apps to help you in Helsinki. The Helsinki area Journey Planner is an useful tool for finding your way around.
Our website has now new posting and additional material added almost daily. The conference is also already now very talked about on Twitter (look for#WCSJ2013 or @WCSJ2013) and getting more active on Facebook. We’ll activate also our LinkedIn page if there’s more interest.
There is now also created a closed group on Facebook for the conference attendees for networking and sharing thoughts around the conference, travel to Finland and stay in Helsinki. Please ask to be included in this group if you’d like to be member of the community!
We have mobilised many persons to report from the conference on social media and the website will mirror as much as possible all sessions and activities during the hectic week. There will be also a handy daily programme available for the mobile devises, easily accessible via the comprehensive free WiFi network in the venues.
If you will arrive before the conference to Helsinki and stay there for for the midsummer weekend, our Facebook group may be a perfect way to find company in Helsinki. The capital city will be almost deserted during the next weekend when the Finns flee the urban areas for their summer cottages.
There’s a great presentation of this very Finnish tradition of midsummer - or “juhannus” in Finnish – on the www.visitfinland.com website. In case you’d like to experience in Helsinki the the traditional Finnish midsummer, the Seurasaari island is the place to be.
We’ll send one newsletter more before the conference. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the sectetariat! And if you have any tip or advice, feel free to share it with others on our Facebook page!
The WCSJ2013 organisers
WCSJ2013 is organised by Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists and the World Federation of Science Journalists with substantial aid from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and University of Helsinki.
The conference is generously supported by: