1.5 euro coin 2018 Lithuania – 50th Physicists Day of Vilnius University
Composition: Cu/Ni alloy
Diameter (mm): 27.50
Weight (g): 11.10
Mintage: 30,000 pcs
To be issued on 2018
L ithuania is the country of basketball and physics! This is a joke that we, the physicists of Lithuania, often make when talking to our counterparts from around the globe. And as they say, there is truth behind every joke. Across the world, physicists are often viewed as a small and perhaps somewhat closed community of slightly eccentric people with a very peculiar sense of humour. That is why such an interest in physics as there is in Lithuania seems unusual to foreigners. A country with a population of merely three million manages to inspire a hardly-imaginable number of talented high-school graduates to study physics. The Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University alone used to have more than 1,000 students enrolled in Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degree programmes in the peak years! It is a unique indicator, a phenomenon. We may dare say that a large part of this success can be credited to FiDi. This annual festival has attributed much to making our community more open and attractive to the young minds. So what are FiDi and its mascot, Dinas Zauras (Dino Saur), to which this €1.50 collector coin is dedicated?
The Physicists Day (abbreviated in Lithuanian as FiDi and pronounced “Phee-Dee”) is a fun- lled festival of Vilnius University students, which is held each year on the rst Saturday of April. No matter the rain, snow or blizzard (which we did have a couple of times!), it unfolds with a colourful parade, with Dinas Zauras at its forefront, marching down Saulėtekio avenue to the Old Town. The legend of the festival has it that physicists set out to apologise to female philologists for the wrongdoings of the dinosaur and to swear their eternal love. The festival, which draws attention to the student body of Vilnius University, is a major event in the city’s calendar: it promotes the community of Lithuania’s physicists and encourages high-school graduates to take interest in physics. The parade traditionally includes the alumni – the graduates of the Faculty of Physics. These are the people who are proud of their right choice of studies and the professional path that they took afterwards. One might say that of Physics and the Scholarly Communication and Information Centre, i.e. the new building of Vilnius University Library. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the traditions of the event were also enriched with its own money called das. The reverse of the coin, issued on the occasion of FiDi 25, depicts a large denomination numeral 1 and a dinosaur twined around it, while the obverse carries the portrait of the initiator of FiDi, Vitas Mačiulis. The coin with the mintage of 15,000 was designed and modelled by the sculptor Jolanta Raupelytė-Balkevičienė and minted at the Lithuanian Mint, which was already up and running at the time. It was the rst product of the company. During the event, one could buy a can of beer for 1 das and a FiDi poetry book for 2 das coins. The festival also has room for more serious matters, such as the conferences organised by the Student Science Society, which used to take place in the morning part of the event and were often scheduled to coincide with FiDi. These conferences have now developed into a grand international student event called the Open Readings, which boasts of even Nobel Prize winners among its speakers. FiDi, in its current format involving the Dinas Zauras parade, is a unique phenomenon, second to none, even among the European universities.