25 April: Girls’ Day 2013 – A day of discovery for girls at the Max Planck Institutes at Science Park Potsdam-Golm
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.
Black holes, neutron stars, supercomputers, strings, eleven dimensions, gravitational wave detectors – almost 100 years after Albert Einstein revolutionized our physical world view, gravitational physics provides a broad spectrum of exciting research fields. On Girls’ Day at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), a guided tour of the Institute’s supercomputer will be offered. A virtual lab will provide the setting for the computation of what happens when black holes orbit one another and ultimately merge. What’s more, under the motto “IT is everywhere”, an overview of the application areas relating to information technologies at a scientific institute will be provided.
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 reveals how, even when temperatures are wintry cold, plants like rice and sugarcane can grow. It will also be demonstrated how plants, with the help of light energy and oxygen, are able to produce sugar. What’s more, there will be the opportunity to actually participate and slip into the role of a plant researcher.
Structures which are bigger than an atom but are still too small for the naked eye, is what the scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces research and create. On Girl’s Day, the young “nano-researchers” will learn how new polymers can be produced with sugars and why sugar is not just sweet, but is also extremely important for the immune system. For this, synthesis robots and other interesting devices are employed. In a hands-on experiment, sugar-hydrogels will actually be made by participants. But how does one even become a scientist in the first place, and why is it such great fun to discover and research new things? What role does information technology play in all this, and why do we even need a mechanical workshop?
Every year on the fourth Thursday in April – this year on 25 April 2013 – 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. On Girls’ Day, the girls are introduced to occupations that require formal training and courses of study in technology, IT, manual crafts and the natural sciences, in which women are still rarely represented. They also get 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 2012, 115,721 girls explored the worlds of technology and science, and 9,562 businesses and organizations signed up to take part in the initiative.