3rd Kastellorizo Puzzle Festival: Scientific activities, experiential events and creative culture

The 3rd Kastellorizo Puzzle Festival holds many surprises for its visitor.

The Kastellorizo Puzzle Festival organized for the 3rd consecutive year on 20-22 October 2023, with the aim of sharing traditional, innovative, creative culture. Focusing on the transfer and understanding of new knowledge and modern science, technology and innovation, the 3rd Kastellorizo Puzzle Festival / Science Games returns to the border island with new content, inspiration and dynamics. The National Documentation Centre (EKT) supports the festival.

Through Puzzles, parallel scientific activities and hands-on events, the Festival will give students from Kastellorizo, Rhodes, Symi and Chalki, local citizens and visitors a chance to see and hear, understand, express themselves, experiment, create, think and generally experience science as something exciting.

The driving force behind the festival is the founder of the Megisti Puzzle Museum, Pantazis Houlis, mathematician and Eleni Grammatikopoulou, known for her long experience in the field of Science communication. They are accompanied by renowned academics, researchers, scientists, educators and people of art who share their dream and enthusiastically participate in all events.

An important milestone of this year's festival is the participation of Professor Stamatis Krimigis, an internationally distinguished space scientist and pioneering researcher who has participated in the most important space programmes of the USA and NASA. With his speech ‘Knowledge acquisition in uncharted waters: Orbits, constructions, and teamwork in space’ he will introduce participants to the secrets of the great undertaking of navigating the Universe.

The whole organisation is carried out by EN.I.GMA (Union of Ideas, Puzzles, Mathematics), where the most important element of its action is the Megisti Puzzle Museum, in collaboration with the Region of South Aegean and with the support of the Municipality of Megisti. The Festival is under the auspices of the Ministries of Education, Religious Affairs & Sports, National Defence, Shipping & Island Policy and the General Secretariat for Research & Innovation. It is also financially supported by private sponsors.

Science Games

Three-dimensional puzzles are an interactive educational tool that activates all the senses for a more understandable, effective and fun learning of easy and/or difficult concepts. They could therefore be included in school or university programmes as they contribute to the ‘reversal’ of the negative image that a large portion of students have, mainly towards Mathematics, exciting curiosity, imagination, resourcefulness, and above all are appealing. Similarly, puzzles with images pique interest and invite us to solve them, as when we apply brush strokes to a new painting.

The subtitle of the Science Games Festival suggests that through parallel scientific activities, hands-on events, experiments, workshops, discussions and original activities, it will reveal to the island’s students and other participants the wondrous world of science, in depth and in an unconventional manner.

The eye-catching and impressive 1st Mobile Information, Education and Technology Workshop ‘Odysseus’ from the organisation ‘The Smile of the Child’ will be there, presenting ‘CONVEY: Not a Game’. An electronic puzzle game about harassment and sexual abuse.

Two more activities of other institutions will be hosted in the same area:

  • Escape4Health by the Medical Physics & Digital Innovation Laboratory of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which highlights the application of Escape Rooms in healthcare curricula, bringing innovation to multiprofessional education, and
  • S.T.E.A.M. Projects: ‘The next generation of problem solvers: Human Nature and Environmental Technology’ from the Greek MENSA.

An interesting entry comes from abroad: University of Munich physics researcher Dr. Markos Skoulatos will present the Antikythera Mechanism and the wonderful world of gears, revealing how ancient technology leads to modern creative games.

Ostomachion, the new logo of the Festival

For 2023, the new logo of the 3rd Kastellorizo Puzzle Festival refers to the oldest recorded puzzle in the history of mankind, the Ostomachion of Archimedes. The meaning was interpreted as ‘Bone fight’, because it was made of ivory. With the preservation of a famous palimpsest containing further information, it in fact turned out to be a combinatorics-problem puzzle, which greatly surprised the scientific community.

The purpose of the puzzle is to rearrange 14 pieces into a square frame. In 2003 it was found that there were 536 ways of doing this. But after research in Kastellorizo, new data, based on ancient texts, prove that three of the incisions were unsubstantiated, and that there are almost ten times as many combinations.

www.ekt.gr, with information from https://kastellorizofestival.com