In Stride with Slovenian Science

Ljubljana, photo Jošt Gantar,
Ljubljana, photo Jošt Gantar,

Science is the motor of progress and an essential element of advanced economies generating high added value. Slovenians have traditionally engaged with scientific pursuit, contributing much to the global mosaic of knowledge. In fact, given its small size in geographical terms, the achievements of Slovenian science are quite extraordinary, and many of its scholars carried their influence beyond the borders of the “land on the sunny side of the Alps”. In recent years, new milestones were reached in Slovenia, including visible individual achievements, the establishment of the first International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence, the celebration of the centenary of Slovenia’s first university, and the founding of the National Congress Ambassador Program.

Did you know that the world’s oldest instrument and prehistoric wooden wheel were both unearthed in Slovenia? Its modern-day scientists continue down the road of discovery. To mention some major figures of the past who made their groundbreaking inventions still in candlelight – Johann Weikhard von Valvasor, a renowned naturalist, member of the prestigious Royal Society in London (17th century), or the brilliant mathematician Baron Jurij Vega whose major work was the Treasury of all Logarithms, an 18th-century compendium serving similar goals as the modern calculator. More greats include physicist Josef Stefan who formulated the Stefan–Boltzmann radiation law in 19th century, the Nobel laureate in organic chemistry Friderik Pregl (early 20th century), or the first female Doctor of Science at the University of Ljubljana, Ana Mayer-Kanski, who set the foundations of Slovenia’s pharmaceutical industry. A paradigm-shifting thinker was also engineer Herman Potočnik Noordung, a founder of astronautics, next to many other dedicated scientists working in the Slovenian and broader space.

From its independence on, Slovenia has been active in European and global research and development programs; in some fields like medicine, computer science or nanotechnology, it is found among the world’s leading countries. Knowledge is treated as a key pillar of Slovenian national development priorities. In the coming years Slovenia will receive the first International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) under the framework of UNESCO, a major achievement setting Slovenia in distinguished company. In 2019, another new addition was the first National Congress Ambassador Program, a vital element to further internationalize Slovenia’s scientific, expert, economic and sports actors. This year Slovenia also celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the first science doctorate awarded at a Slovenian university.

Slovenia is in many ways unique. Increasingly, it is gaining prominence on the academic map of the world – who hasn’t heard of Slavoj Žižek, the world’s most widely publicized philosopher who practically enjoys the status of a rock star? Another noted academic of Slovenian roots is Thomas Luckmann, established contemporary sociologist. With contributions and institutional efforts, Slovenia’s international presence in the spheres of science and academia is persistently growing.

Are you wondering what MICE and science have in common? Networking, connecting, creating new models and paradigms, the expansion of horizons and exchange of information are of decisive importance for social development and progress in the broadest context, a process in which the meetings industry plays a vibrant role. MICE rests on the exchange of expert perspectives, practices and information; increasingly mixed with incentives and travel. This highly profitable type of tourism brings many beneficial impacts to a destination – scientific, cultural, economic, and not least tourism development.

With its many experts, natural and cultural treasures as well as star locations, Slovenia offers a splendid opportunity to expand your horizons, exchange knowledge and share innovation. Don’t forget, fortune favours the curious!