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MINTernational workshops at Jacobs University: Fascinating insights into the scientific world for school students


January 31, 2018

“I already knew all about group work, scientific reading matter and its analysis from school, but here there are many more experiments and more applications – that was great!” Jannik Liebchen, 18-year old senior high school student at Oberstufe an der Egge, the high school in Eggestedter Street in Bremen, puts his experiences in a nutshell. Ekaterina Antimirova (17) from Hermann-Böse-Gymnasium in Bremen adds: “Before the workshop I thought that physics was too theoretical and dry for my taste. But now I’m thinking about studying physics”.

Attentive participants: A total of 36 students took part in the workshops. Photo: Jacobs University

Thirty-six school students from Oldenburg, Delmenhorst, Bruchhausen-Vilsen, Achim, Buchholz (Nordheide) and Bremen have been experiencing first-hand what it means to work as a scientist in the subjects of physics and chemistry at a one-week workshop “MINTernational”. “We want to give students an insight into science and awaken interest and excitement for the scientific questions”, says physics professor Jürgen Fritz about the objective of the two workshops he is leading together with chemistry professor Thomas Nugent.

An additional incentive for many students was the international focus of the workshops held in English. They were carried out by a “teaching tandem” consisting of one student from Jacobs University and the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from the United States respectively. Amir Karamlou (physics) and Laura J. Bergemann (chemistry) from MIT spent three weeks at Jacobs University as part of their “Global Teaching Lab Program”; two of those weeks were spent on preparing for the workshops.

Lisa Tichagwa studies chemistry at Jacobs University. Photo: Jacobs University

The two Jacobs students Daniel Prelipcean (physics) and the 20-year old Lisa Tichagwa from Zimbabwe, who is studying chemistry in the first semester, also took part in the project. “I really enjoyed working with Laura and the students”, says Lisa. “We worked in laboratories for two days. All of them were very interesting, we worked really well together”.

The physics workshop was about “Quantum Physics: Fundamentals and the Future”. “This is a complex area where it is difficult to apply our everyday understanding”, says Prof. Jürgen Fritz. Examples are: What is light – is it a wave that oscillates? Or does it consist of particles that fly through the air? “We wanted to show how scientists dealt with such questions in the past, what results they achieved and what applications are possible today”. One of the topics was therefore the quantum computer – a new generation of computers.

“The lecturers explained the topics really well”, says Jannik Liebchen. “Quantum physics combines knowledge from many areas in one topic. It is so complex, it’s almost frightening”, says Ekaterina, who studied advanced physics as a subject at school. “But it was fascinating to experience the practical application of theoretical scientific concepts”.

At the MINTernational workshops at Jacobs University, students gained exciting insights into the world of science. Photo: Jacobs University
What can be detected with the help of lasers? This question was answered by the students in the physics laboratory. Photo: Jacobs University