A loud shuffling of footsteps in the corridors, children’s voices in the labs and curious, questioning eyes looking into microscopes and at gels – it’s already that time of year again – nine girls and boys will slip into the role of a scientific researcher, taking part in the kids@science study week. And, as in the past years, they have the opportunity to not only observe the activities but also to conduct their own experiments in three different research groups at the Biozentrum.
This year, the research groups of Prof. Christoph Handschin, Prof. Erich Nigg und Prof. Torsten Schwede are opening their doors to the children. They will look over the shoulder of scientists at work, learn to pipette, pour gels and to use a microscope. In Christoph Handschin’s group, the children will find out how a muscle actually looks from the “inside” and they can see with their own eyes how a muscle develops from a simple muscle cell. In Erich Nigg’s lab, they will learn about the many tasks cells need for proliferation and will also make live movies of dividing cells. In Torsten Schwede’s team, particularly the computer specialists amongst the children will feel at home. They will see how it is possible to identify aberrant proteins using a computer and how this can help us to better understand diseases. And a whole morning the children will spend at the Microscopy Center: Markus Dürrenberger and his team will explore the microcosm together with the children and make tiny things very large with the electron microscope.
On the last day of their study week, at the public closing ceremony, the children will show what they have learned at the Biozentrum to all those interested, including parents, family members, friends and school teachers. The budding scientists have the opportunity to present their research findings at the poster exhibition and, for those who would like to share more, at the lecture hall of the Physics Institute in front of a large audience.
The kids@science study weeks are organized by the foundation “Schweizer Jugend forscht”. The program aims to give children an insight into the fascinating world of science and technology and to introduce them to these fields at an early age. This year, a total of 72 children between 10 and 13 years of age will visit four Departments at the University of Basel.