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Official inauguration of the Scienteens Lab on Belval Campus

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Published on Thursday, 24 November 2016

Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, patroness of the “Scienteens Lab - De Labo fir Jonker”, has officially inaugurated the new laboratory and disciplines offered to high-school students at the University of Luxembourg. On this occasion, Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg participated in two workshops in the fields of mathematics and physics.


Hard sciences for a career

Initiated in 2012 by the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), the Scienteens Lab has organised more than 108 workshops in biology, mathematics and physics for more than 1,700 secondary schools students. Under the slogan “Bridging the gap between school and university”, the aim is to provide young people with a first look at the career of a researcher by offering hands-on experimental workshops. Recently, the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) has joined the initiative to offer the scientific activities in mathematics and physics.

The president of the University Prof. Rainer Klump, the LCSB director Prof. Rudi Balling, the FSTC Dean Prof. Paul Heuschling and the Scienteens Lab coordinator Dr Elisabeth John welcomed Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg on Belval Campus. In the presence of 60 participants composed of government representatives, researchers, teachers and students, they thanked all the stakeholders who have supported this pioneer project since 2012.

In addition, Dr John presented the project and its developments: “After three years, the results have been outstanding and show the immense interest in such activities. Demand is still surpassing supply! The new activities in mathematics and physics enable to diversify and further complete our offer”, comments Elisabeth who received an award from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) in 2015 for her work in the Scienteens Lab. To conclude, the FNR General Secretary Dr Marc Schiltz and the Minister Delegate for Higher Education and Research Mr Marc Hansen encouraged the University to pursue and further develop outreach activities to promote scientific research at national level.

Hands-on activities

Then, the guests headed towards the Biotech I building to explore the new laboratory and attend some courses.

Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and Mr Marc Hansen officially inaugurated the laboratory and participated with students from the Lycée Michel Lucius in two sessions: “Keep a secret? - Thanks to Number Theory!” and “Mayonnaise, a culinary star on the test bench - a liquid or a solid?”.

In the mathematics workshop, students learned how number theory is applied for securing communication. They decrypted a secret message with the help of a “decoding wheel”, they discovered a mathematical strategy to win a game, and they communicated with each other using encrypted messages.

In the physics session, the students discovered the secrets for preparing smooth mayonnaise. They researched it’s “two-faced” behaviour, namely why it squeezes like a liquid from thetube, but sits like a solid on yourfrites. These investigations were aided by sophisticated light microscopes and delicate instruments which are able to measure material flow properties.

After this hands-on part, Prof. Klump invited Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg to continue the discussion with teachers and students during the reception, and concluded the official inauguration: “Today, the University of Luxembourg is very proud to celebrate the success of the Scienteens Lab. It is an important corner stone for the University’s embedment into the Luxembourgish society”.

The expansion of the Scienteens Lab has been made possible through the generous support of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) in the framework of the PSP-Flagship Programms as well as the Fondation Veuve Emile Metz Tesch.

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Photo caption, from left: Dr Elisabeth John, Vera Spautz, Prof. Rainer Klump and Marc Hansen welcoming Her Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
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