The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society. We take a look at the PSP Flagship supported Scienteens lab – a hands-on laboratory for high school pupils.
Founded in 2013 by the Luxembourg Centre of System Biomedicine (LCSB), the Scienteens Lab at the University of Luxembourg is an extracurricular learning centre for high school pupils. Here, they can meet real scientists and use University equipment during interactive 1-day laboratory workshops in biology, physics and mathematics.
“We want to share our knowledge with the people in Luxembourg”, says Rudi Balling, Director of the LCSB, “and it’s particularly important to engage young people and stimulate their enthusiasm for research.”
The Scienteens lab submitted a proposal in the 2016 PSP-Flagship call to expand new courses, mainly in physics and mathematics but also in the life sciences. The physics course takes a closer look at a culinary curiosity: mayonnaise, which can take on properties of both a liquid and a solid. As part of this workshop, pupils use special equipment (e.g. rheometers) to measure for example the viscosity of mayonnaise.
The mathematics course takes apart step-by-step the RSG algorithm that is behind secure transactions over the internet. Pupils learn to apply Euclidian division to a real-world problem and how deceptively simple but effective factorisation of prime numbers safeguard our online shopping transactions.
“Thanks to the PSP-Flagship funding, the Scienteens lab was able to hire two additional project staff members who took the lead in delivering these workshops, which were developed in collaboration with local scientists from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication”, says Elisabeth John, Coordinator of the Scienteens lab.
“The budget also covers material needed for these courses. Besides expanding our offer for regular pupils, we are now also able to offer teacher training workshops and summer internships for highly motivated pupils.”
Hear more from Scienteens Lab coordinator Elisabeth John, who won an FNR Award in 2015 for the activity.