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Slovenian and Czech high school students visit Leiden University

Sixty-four high school students from Slovenia, Czech Republic and The Netherlands have visited Leiden University in the week of 7-11 November, as part of the Talent Education Project. They split in eight groups, of which some went to the science faculty to conduct research projects.

The exchange program marks the launch of the students’ final thesis, which they write in their fifth year of high school. Other events are hosted by Brno, Pilsen and Ljubljana, which together with Leiden form the home towns of the participants.

One group of eight pupils was asked to think about the question: ‘What are the technological and societal consequences if tomorrow we’d discover super conduction at room temperature?’ This resulted in interesting applications, like protection from cosmic radiation for human space travel and easy energy storage in coils, for example induced by solar power in the desert. Apart from this assignment, the students worked on fun experiments with Stichting Rino and got a tour at the department of fine mechanics.

Another group was challenged with the case of how to communicate the Universe’s accelerated expansion with a young audience. First, they derived that this acceleration is indeed happening, from actual astronomical data of type 1a supernovae. Next, the students developed several prototypes of communication strategies. For example, by placing galaxies on a rubber band and stretching it, they mimic the expansion in one dimension. Later, they will extend this outreach concept to two dimensions and create movies and animations.




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