Live Experiment "Effects and Side Effects"

​Professor Peter Jüni, director of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern:

"By using audience data, we demonstrate on the night how a clinical trial proceeds and what can happen if researchers depart from the protocol."

"Zu Wirkungen und Nebenwirkungen" (effects and side effects) is a clinical live study ("Live-Studie") that demonstrates how scientific knowledge is gained. The study is conducted with the help of the participating audience. Scientific editor Roland Fischer, Professor Peter Jüni, director of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, and Kaspar Staub, researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich, developed the concept and took to the stage in Basel, Zurich and Bern.

With a team of statisticians and IT specialists, the researchers conduct a clinical trial in fast-forward mode: they explain the processes on stage by referring to data that is collected then and there - the members of the audience act as test subjects. In a randomised placebo-controlled study they test and seemingly prove the effect of a new agent called Aquirin.

This raises fundamental questions about science: how important are chance and systematic errors and how can they be countered? How is reliable knowledge acquired? "Live Experiment" is a new interactive performance format that conveys complex insights in an entertaining and accessible way.