Pupils discover the world of Nanotechnology
Faculty of Life Sciences gives grammar school students the ability to look through a scanning electron microscope and conduct practical experiments in a laboratory.
How does a scanning electron microscope function in practice? How are surfaces assessed in the laboratory? What’s coming up in a future lecture from the degree programme of Bionics? 39 pupils from grade 9 of the Euregio-Gymnasium in Bocholt gained a first decided insight into the world of Natural Science at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. "The enthusiasm of the pupils for the experiments spoke for itself. I think they were able to experience first hand just how interesting and exciting this field of research is," Cornelius Janse, teacher of Biology and Chemistry, summarises the impressions.
Kleve/Emmerich/Kamp-Lintfort, June 20, 2012: In the advanced Natural Science course, pupils had already been engaged with Bionics and Nanotechnology for months. Consistency of surfaces as well as different types of microscopes were topics that were chosen, amongst others, as central themes. "Through a newspaper article, I have only learned a short time ago that the university acquired a scanning electron microscope. Thus, I sought to contact the university," says Janse who is also deputy head of the school. "We are, of course, always grateful when schools who want to inform themselves on subjects and conditions of study on the ground approach us. Both sides gained enormously from this meeting," explains Prof. Dr. Kerstin Koch.
Together with her team, the biologist had prepared a stunning programme that aimed to get young researchers into Nanotechnology in just three short hours. Three stations had been set up: The Professor simulated a lecture by reporting on surface structures and wetting properties of surfaces. Diplom biologist Oliver Hagedorn, on the other hand, made practical experiments in the laboratory possible. Experiments were conducted with sand that does not become wet and real lotus leaves which can clean themselves. "The surface structure of the leaves is unique. Water is simply rolling off and at the same time, it is collecting dirt from the surfaces," according to Hagedorn. The guests were fascinated. The third group was allowed to prepare samples and then examine them through the scanning electron microscope. "We have been examining different leaves and also have made compound eyes of flies visible," according to diplom biologist Axel Hinnemann. Subsequently, stations were rotated.
After a lunch that followed in the university refectory, pupils headed back to Bocholt. "The workshops were very well prepared and excellently executed. Many pupils reported that they had already hoped for the visit to the university before our class test," tells Janse. "Because the tenor was unanimous: Now we know exactly how a scanning electron microscope functions!" The grammar school wants to maintain contact and visit the university again next year - by then, preferably still before the class test!