Who we are

How we got started…

When making the decision to implement a scientific outreach program, the first question was: What name should we give it? Discussing it together, with jokes and enthusiasm, we came up with “Ciencia al Tiro” which is a Chilean saying meaing “right now” or “immediately”. Why “Science Immediately”? Because we wanted to convey a feeling of urgency: the public education system in Chile is broken, we can’t wait… We need to do something now!

But in which school should we develop the program? The public school “Republic of Arabe Syria”, located in the Montedónico sector of Valparaíso, is a school that in 2007 had some of the poorest results of all Chilean schools in the national exam measuring effectiveness of the education (SIMCE). This school is only 15  minutes from our university! That is how we decided to contact this school. The objective of the first stage, developed in 2008 and implemented in 2009, was to improve science education and develop a connection between this school and the scientists of the University of Valparaíso.

We hope we are able to contribute a grain of sand to the formation of children who society has  left behind and break down the barriers that block access to a quality education. All students need to develop their capacities, but, sadly, opportunities are often denied by the poorly planned, unequal, and classist educational system. This system destroys curiosity and creativity as it funnels students into inadequate technical schools with no future. All students need access to a quality education… And they need it “al Tiro”!


More than a decade later, Ciencia Al Tiro continues with more strength and enthusiasm than ever, implementing new scientific workshops not only in public schools of the Playa Ancha Hill of Valparaiso but also with both students and teachers from different regions of Chile from Antofagasta to Bio Bio. We have published a book, made movies, participated in Festivals, won awards…always moving looking to the future, always with the conviction that science is happiness, science is all around us and in all that we do, and that we are all scientists.

Green Building

Our goal was to create a “science space” where students from the public schools of Valparaíso can participate our workshops. We have raised money to buy various types of equipment: dissecting microscopes, compound microscope with a camera system, and an E-Rack system we use to work with fish, but we lacked space to store and use the equipment.

Now we have a property near the university called “Edificio Verde”, dedicated to Science Immediately. This privately funded building was renovated and incorporates the use of solar energy for heat and electricity, the use of recycled materials, and other “green” features.

The Green Building also incorporates characteristics that reflect the culture of Valparaíso including murals by painter Eduardo Mena and other creations of Chile.

The goal of our program is to spark the interest of students by allowing them to discover that science is both entertaining and useful. To incorporate these ideas we hold workshops that we have already used in schools and have expanded our current aquaponics workshops.

Aquaponics is a technology in which fish waste products circulate through the roots of plants; the plants extract their nutrients (nitrates) from the water, (cleansing the water) and it is recirculated back to the fish. Through this system, students learn chemistry (nitrogen cycle, water pH, photosynthesis), biology (fish development, plant development) and about sustainable technology. Since students will handle the aquaponics system they will gain valuable experience in aquaculture and agriculture, as well as practical knowledge that would be applicable to the Chilean economy.