ERIM Goes to Schools  

ERIM Goes to Schools 

Thibaut Roger (University of Bern, Switzerland) and Barbara Cavalazzi (University of Bologna) brought planetary science to schools in Bratislava as part of the ERIM 2023 event.

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In June 2023, during the final week of term, planetary science came to the classrooms of two schools in Bratislava as part of the Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM). ‘ERIM Goes to Schools’ offered participating researchers the interesting and enriching experience of engaging with local schools and teachers. 

Thibaut Roger (University of Bern, Switzerland) was invited to talk about ‘Life in the Universe’ to an assembly of secondary school students at the United School of the Holy Family. The lecture – a kick-off event for the school’s science fair – was attended by over 100 students. As not all the attendees spoke English, the school organised for one of the teachers to perform a live translation of the talk from English to Slovak. Students learned about the definition of life (or lack thereof), extremophiles, astrobiology and the concept of habitable zones, as well as some lesser-known facts about the exploration of our Solar System and the quest for extraterrestrial life. Thibaut also shared advice on careers in astrophysics and answered numerous questions. 

Barbara Cavalazzi (University of Bologna, Italy) gave an immersive lecture to encourage students and aspiring space scientists at the Czech High School to learn more about astrobiology, the origins of life, and space exploration. Questions from both students and teachers highlighted the curiosity of people of all ages to find out what we can learn from tiny molecules, giant planets, single-celled life forms, or galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars. Discussing the endless possibilities of the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology was not only an opportunity for Barbara to share a mutual passion for space with the students, but also a chance for her to get back in touch with her own motivation as a researcher. 

Feedback from the schools was very positive, highlighting the importance for students to have the opportunity to speak directly with scientists. ‘ERIM Goes to Schools’ builds on the successful programme established around the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC Goes Live to Schools), which has been organised in collaboration with the ‘Lecturers Without Borders’ association since 2020. 

Sign up to particpate in ‘EPSC2024 Goes Live for Schools’ when you submit your abstract for EPSC2024 in Berlin in September.

Issue 6 of Europlanet Magazine