A logbook of everyday science

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is constantly building and re-building its infrastructure in order to adapt to the ever changing needs of its scientific community. These design and construction processes often appear complicated and quite tedious, but they also provide unique opportunities for a behind-the-scenes look into science and the mechanics and mechanisms that are integral part of it.

This is why, in 2014, HZB launched „HZBzlog — A logbook of everyday science“, an online platform to document several of its ongoing construction projects.

Users from around the world could follow the day-to-day work in streams of postings from scientists and staff. Each episode focused on a specific challenge for the scientists and engineers and how they mastered it. The platform was open for everyone to comment and share. All content was automatically fed into different social media streams. Scientists could contribute posts straight to the platform by email. Everything was designed to lower the threshold for engagement as much as possible.

The logbook told its stories with rich multimedia content — video, audio, and interactive. The postings were often playful and ironic, and made the complex and sometimes longwinding process of science accessible for a wide audience.

The result: An almost realtime window into the daily and often unexpected process of science and the hidden stories of some of the most ambitious engineering projects in the world. Over three years, the platform had over 350.000 pageviews and almost 110.000 unique visitors. In 2014, HZBzlog won the German Prize for Online Communication.

The project is now closed.

  • #BESSY

    The ideal microscope
    for space and time

  • #hzbEMIL

    Watching the
    Secret Lives of Atoms

  • #hzbHFM

    Building the Strongest Magnet in
    the World of Neutron Scattering

  • #hzbNEAT

    The Path of
    the Neutron

The Episodes

The events that we covered for the #HZBzlog were structured in separate episodes (or chapters), each focusing on a new challenge for the respective project team in the field.
For example, after the new High Field Magnet finally arrived at its destination at HZB, we followed a team of engineers in their struggles to maintain the (near) perfect vacuum that is necessary for the magnet to work.

View an archived episode from #HZBzlog

Unload, Unpack, Inspect —
Enter The Leak Spotters

Open Example
The Name

Originally, we called the project HZB-Zukunftslogbuch, which is a bit of a lengthy beast. So we cut it down to a nice hashtagable HZBzlog, with HZB for Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, z for Zukunft (future) and log for Logbuch (logbook). We pronounce it [tsɛt.lɔg] in German and [ˈzɛdlɒg] in English, but of course you are free to speak it any way you like.

The Team

HZB Head of Communications: Dr. Ina Helms
HZB Editorial Team: Dr. Antonia Rötger, Hannes Schlender, Silvia Zerbe, Kerstin Berthold, Andreas Kubatzki
Editorial concept and project coordination: Hoppenhaus & Grunze Medien
Platform design and realization: agenturfuerkrankemedien