Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

Review of the RWTH Science Night “5 to 12”

December 1st, 2023 | by
A child's hand touches a plasma ball and makes it glow, while a second hand is about to touch the ball.

Plasma sphere with characteristic glow due to impulse stimulation © Katharina Uhlig

A look behind the scenes at the university for the 19th time: Visitors of all ages experienced the world of research from an impressive close-up.

On November 10, 2023, RWTH Aachen University opened the doors of its lecture hall center C.A.R.L. from 7 p.m. to midnight to encourage guests of all ages to get involved in the spirit of science, live out their curiosity and be inspired. What began as a modest idea over 19 years ago has developed into a mega-event that not only attracts thousands of guests, but also delights the participating and presenting university members in equal measure.

“It started out unspectacularly with around 500 visitors,” recalls project manager Thomas von Salzen from the Department of Press and Communication at RWTH Aachen University.

The idea of presenting science at an unusual time, entertaining and free of charge for all who are interested, preceded the event. The concept has since been successfully developed so that it now offers an extensive program in which researchers from numerous disciplines passionately participate. True to the motto “from the labs to the people”, the Science Night represents a unique platform that enables the direct transfer of knowledge in a social and cultural context. The focus is on the joy of experiencing research and progress together and in this way makes a valuable contribution to strengthening the links between science and society.

A boy of primary school age operates the switch of a self-made circuit in which a small light bulb lights up

Children put together circuits themselves and thus recreate various experiments © Katharina Uhlig

The annual event is also a special highlight for the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Faculty members shared their own enthusiasm for their department with the youngest guests at the Science Night. Numerous children settled down at their station with the construction kits and playfully put together electric circuits or explored the question of magnetism in the case of a rally. Also impressive was a plasma ball on display, which invited visitors to explore this fascinating phenomenon.

” Supporting the children in this was my personal highlight. Between all the light effects, the children’s eyes shone the brightest,” concludes Katharina Uhlig from the team of public relations of the deanery.

This year’s Science Night program was particularly focused on the topics of energy, artificial intelligence and mathematics. In addition, various fields of research were presented in their usual manner: impressive and comprehensible in the form of lectures, breathtaking experiments and eye-catching exhibits. In total, the program included around 30 lectures and 60 exhibits from research and teaching.

Children sit at a table equipped with electronic construction kits and are guided by adults. In the background, other people are on the move in the event room.

Station of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, equipped with electronics construction kits © Katharina Uhlig

Young and older guests experienced special moments on the journey of discovery through “The fascinating world of science and technology”, which extended through Eric Siemes’ “Colorful experiment show”.

The show “Making music with light – experiencing music-synchronized laser shows” by the Chair of Optical Systems Technology and MHL²-Laser&Lights also left a lasting impression. Here, laser light images “danced” amazingly synchronized to the music through the room; while the guests in the immediate vicinity “literally had their hair standing on end”. There they took part in an interactive high-voltage show by the physics department.

The traditional physics fair also once again showcased all kinds of physical phenomena and invited visitors to try out many experiments for themselves.

Finally, the annual RWTH Science Slam in the main lecture hall of the Audimax was once again attended by numerous guests: Several science slammers competed against each other in an entertaining “contest of knowledge”.

Further information on the program, as well as impressions and experiences of both the organizers  – Department of Press and Communication, Division 3.2 – and the participants can be accessed via the links.

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