Girls’ Day at the MPIE – Being a nanoscientist for one day

May 11, 2015

What do material scientists do at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (MPIE)? Which research topics are they interested in and which facilities do they use? Three girls had the chance to get an insight on the work of a Max Planck scientist on 23rd April 2015, the nationwide Girls’ Day.

Scanning electron microscope picture of a tick

The day started with a short introduction to the research and the apprenticeship offers at the MPIE. Then the lab time began: the pupils coated one of their hairs with gold-palladium and examined it first with a light microscope. To get a clearer insight, they took the hair sample and examined it with a scanning electron microscope. Also the head and legs of a tick and a bee, a fly’s eye and pollen were analysed under the scanning electron microscope. The participants of the different schools now know that a nanometre is around 50.000 times smaller than a human hair and how big the area of one facet of a bee’s eye is. With this awareness the girls finished this year’s Girls’ Day as nanoscientists.

Scanning electron microscope picture of a salt crystal

At the Girls’ Day companies, universities and different organizations invite female pupils once per year for one day. The girls learn about possible trainings and courses of study in fields usually dominated by men like IT, craft, natural sciences and engineering. Apart from that they also get the chance to meet female managers in industry or politics.

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