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Journey into the world of microorganisms

Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" develops 360-degree film and provides it to planetariums worldwide

Planetariums offer their guests a comfortable journey through the infinite vastness of the universe - directly from their cinema seats. From now on, however, visitors to planetariums and interested parties around the world will also be able to travel to another world: the microverse, the world of microbes. The film "Into the Microverse: Journey through the amazing world of microbes" takes you on such a journey. The 360-degree adventure is the result of a successful collaboration between the Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and other researchers and is now available for download.

Microorganisms are everywhere: in the atmosphere, in the soil and in water. Although tiny, they play a major role in the coexistence of organisms. To show how important microorganisms are for the health of other living organisms and how they influence processes in ecosystems, researchers from the Cluster of Excellence developed the film "Into the Microverse: Journey through the amazing world of microbes". "We are delighted to have created a special educational format with this film. Our aim is to make viewers curious and, above all, raise awareness of the wonderful diversity of microbes," explains Kirsten Küsel, Professor of Aquatic Geomicrobiology at the University of Jena and spokesperson of the "Balance of the Microverse" cluster.

The 15-minute film was developed in 360-degree full-dome format. There are no costs or licence fees for its use, as the film is intended to be available to all planetariums and other venues worldwide for their educational activities in line with the open access approach. It is now available for download in English and German.

The film tells the story of two drones on a mission to find out how tiny creatures - microbes - can contribute to a sustainable future on Earth. On their journey, they discover, for example, that microbes can produce energy. "We want to visualise our Microverse research for all interested parties. That's why we opted for a format that offers a unique film experience and leaves a lasting impression on the audience. A planetarium offers the ideal (learning) environment for this," continues Küsel.

In order to bring the research methods and content closer to different target groups, further educational materials are being considered to complement the film thematically and to explore the various research focuses of the cluster in greater depth. "We plan to work with schools in particular to give both students and teachers a practical insight into the work of researchers," says Angela Köhler, Managing Director of the "Balance of the Microverse" cluster.

In addition to the Cluster of Excellence at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and its graduate school "Jena School for Microbial Communication", many other research partners contributed to the creation of the film. "We would like to sincerely thank all contributors and sponsors who were instrumental in the creation of the film," says Küsel.  

Picture Credit: Tina Peißker

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