Glass is not only a beautiful material evoking pleasant moments when dining together. Insulating glass keeps our homes warm, medical glass helps fight for our health, fiber optics transmit the data needed for the knowledge economy, solar panels produce clean electricity – and artists are constantly unlocking new ways of using glass aesthetics in architecture or design. Glass is a recyclable material that is environmentally and health-friendly.
The United Nations is aware of the scientific, economic and cultural potential of glass and on the initiative of the International Commission on Glass (ICG), adopted a resolution declaring 2022 the International Year of Glass. This marked the start of the preparation of a massive popular science campaign, which will involve not only glass producers or processors, but also scientific research and art institutes around the world. As the Rector of Alexander Dubček University in Trenčín, stated, “I am pleased that our FunGlass Center (Center for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glass) will provide a national background for the glass year celebrations in Slovakia.” This role belongs to FunGlass not only due to its current research results but also due to the tradition of glass production and glass processing in Trenčín region. The Center will have first-hand access to the organization of individual events. Prof. Alicia Durán, who as the President of the International Commission on Glass, coordinates worldwide activities within the International Year of Glass, is a member of the governing body of the FunGlass Center and regularly visits the city of Trenčín.
The director of the Center, Professor Dušan Galusek, expressed his determination that, despite the changing pandemic situation, FunGlass will be able to organize events in Trenčín focusing on the past, present and especially the potential of this transformative material. From the point of view of the Centre’s activities, the most important event will be the ceremonial opening of its renovated premises with renovated laboratories, in which forty new devices will be installed. Investment worth 8.6 mil. EUR is funded by the European Regional Development Funds, and the list of installed infrastructure was created by an international consortium of project partners in order to create laboratories of excellent research of the European importance. The International Year of Glass 2022 will also be celebrated in the framework of traditional scientific events, which include the regular workshop of the FunGlass Center, so-called “FunGlass School” and “FunGlass Symposium 2022”, which will be organized this time as part of the prestigious ICG World Conference scheduled for July 2022 in Berlin.
FunGlass will continue on cooperation with the city of Trenčín together with which the “Bridging Art and Science” event took place in June 2021. This workshop, prepared together with the Trenčín project team of the initiative “Trenčín – European Capital of Culture 2026”, started a debate between scientists and leading glass designers. This communication will continue within the project EHMK2026 Glass-mass with the ambition to connect art and design students with the scientific researchers and local glass craftsmen and open a new unique space for experimenting with glass in Slovakia in the period up to 2026.
FunGlass wants to offer the scientific and lay public various popular science lectures and discussions as part of the glass year celebrations. These will be realized also in cooperation with the Slovak Glass Society, the Slovak Silicate Scientific and Technical Society, the civic association Friends of FunGlass, and partner industrial companies. The forthcoming popularization activities will also include a glass exhibition with examples of the work of art glassmakers, “Junior FunGlass School” for primary school students, as well as “Open Day” for older students and the general public.
The common feature of all planned events is the fascination with the remarkable properties of glass and the celebration of the human spirit and the work whose symbiosis refines this material. Current information about the events and planned activities of the FunGlass Center, not only in connection with the International Year of Glass, will be available to the professional and lay public on the websites and social networks of our Center and Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín.