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Journey into the World of Science

Tens of thousands of visitors made the most of the opportunity to learn more about work at Forschungszentrum Jülich during Open Day last Sunday. Every three years, the campus opens its doors to the public and offers a varied programme for all those interested.

Virtuelle Welten im InnotruckCopyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Kurt Steinhausen

“The fire brigade!” – eight-year-old Louis does not think twice when asked what he wants to see first during Open Day at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Although he has never been on campus, his parents clearly knew how to get him excited for the visit. At the end of the day, however, it will be something different that will have impressed him most.

Louis was one of more than 28,000 people who visited our campus in beautiful weather on Open Day to learn more about the multifaceted work conducted at one of the largest research centres in Europe. Over 60 institutes presented fascinating projects from their field of specialization. The visitors learnt how a weather balloon works and witnessed a balloon start on its journey far into the stratosphere at an altitude of 18 km. They also marvelled at a mobile laboratory and a gigantic brain. Many curious visitors rolled up their sleeves themselves and took part in an experiment conducted by the Civil Safety Research institute, for example. With red hats and a QR code on their heads, they squeezed through an artificial bottleneck while scientists analysed their behaviour. The scientists wanted to find out how wide narrow points need to be in order to avoid accidents when there are crowds of people.

Keine Angst vor kniffeligen Fragen - eine Gruppe kleiner Forscher unterwegs auf der Forschungsrallye.Not afraid of tricky questions - a group of small researchers at the research rally.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Kurt Steinhausen

The diverse activities provided a very vivid overview of a large research field. Visitors interested in neutron scattering or cosmic radiation were entertained as well as those with more down-to-earth preferences: “I’m particularly interested in environmental topics and everything concerning soil,” said Angela Pennekamp. The landscape ecologist brought her 12-year-old daughter along to Open Day. Their first stop, however, was the supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC). “A friend of ours works there at the the computer centre,” said Pennekamp.

It wasn’t just the scientific presentations that were a hit: “We are enjoying ourselves immensely,” said Christian Große from Aachen. It was his and his family’s first time to come to Open Day at Forschungszentrum Jülich. He was particularly impressed by the international exchange: “At one stand, a scientist from India approached my son and explained her field to him in English. I though that was great. People from so many different countries work together here, and it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

Sascha Ott und zwei kleine Assistenten machen ein Experiment.Sascha Ott showed experiments for children.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach

Visitors growing tired by the long distances on campus relaxed a while in front of the lakeside stage and were entertained by a varied programme. Refreshments were available at a number of food stalls. Louis is happily tucking into a portion of chips. When asked what was the highlight of his day, he replies with a question: “How many feelers does a bee have?” And promptly offers the reply himself: “Four,” he says, proud to know more than a grown-up. He learned this while looking through a microscope during an experiment at the JuLab Schools Laboratory. There could be no better end to Open Day.

Weitere Informationen:

Picture gallery Open Day 2019

Soical-Media-Wall Open Day 2019