Girls’ Day 2012

Young female researchers visit the Max Planck Institutes in Potsdam-Golm

April 26, 2012

On 26 April, Girl’s Day, the biggest career orientation project for female students, will take place. At the three Max Planck Institutes located in the Science Park Potsdam-Golm, the girls will have the opportunity to learn programming, as well as hunt down the secrets of plant life and invisible dimensions.

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics is not only home to mathematicians and physicists who conduct research into Einstein’s general relativity, it is also where computer experts work as cluster administrators, database managers and web developers. The scientists have their own homepages on which they report on their research, as well as present recent publications, talks and collaborations with other research institutes. On Girls’ Day, the girls will have the chance to learn how to program and design their own websites.

Biologists, chemists, computer scientists and mathematicians work at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology hand in hand with horticulturists and technicians with the aim of delving deeply into the secret world of plants. An exciting tour through the climate chambers and greenhouses of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology reveals how, even when temperatures are wintry cold, plants like rice and sugarcane can grow. The girls can take on the role of a plant researcher and learn how plants are cultivated under sterile conditions and why earth plays absolutely no role in the process.

The “nanosciences” at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces refers to a research field in which not only physicists and chemists work, but also biologists, all of whose efforts will open up numerous innovative technologies in future, such as synthetic bones and teeth. The colloids that can be found in blood, milk, ink or pharmaceuticals are less than a thousandth of a millimetre in size and cannot be seen without a microscope. Those girls interested in becoming nano-researchers will learn how an electron microscope works and how it can be used, how research is conducted on the composition of various materials and how gold nanoparticles are synthesized in the lab.

But how does one even become a scientist, and why is it such great fun to discover and research new things? What role does information technology play in the process? On Girls’ Day, career profiles available at the Max Planck Institutes will be presented and tips provided for successfully receiving a study or training place.

Girls’ Day

Every year on the fourth Thursday in April - this year on 26 April 2012 - especially technical businesses, companies with technical departments and training programmes, universities and research centres throughout Germany open their doors for female students from the 5th grade onward. On Girls’ Day, the girls are introduced to training professions and courses of study in technology, IT, manual crafts and the natural sciences, in which women are still underrepresented. They also have a chance to meet female role models in management positions from the worlds of business and politics. Girls’ Day is the biggest career orientation project for female students. Since the inception of the initiative in 2001, over 1,000,000 girls have participated in a steadily increasing number of events. In 2011, over 125,000 girls explored the worlds of technology and natural sciences, and 9,800 businesses and organizations signed up to take part in the initiative.

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