Who Would Have Thought Research Could Be So Much Fun?

RWTH-Wissenschaftsnacht 2023 Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

Around 5,000 visitors attended the RWTH Science Night.


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When complex mathematical relationships are explained with Playmobil pirates, Coke cans explode and dry ice cocktails are served - it's got to be "Science Night" at RWTH Aachen University. Around 5,000 visitors recently made their way to the C.A.R.L. Lecture Center, the Mining and Civil Engineering Building and the Audimax and experienced just how exciting and entertaining research can be.

"At the Science Night, we want to show what RWTH really stands for," said Rector Ulrich Rüdiger. Topics such as sustainability and future viability are often at the heart of research, and at the C.A.R.L. this research was hands-on and, of course, often combined with a lot of "booms" and " hisses" and "bangs" - after all, a large proportion of the visitors were children who clearly enjoyed the science shows. RWTH alumnus Erik Siemes proved to be the grand master of entertainment in the fields of physics, chemistry and technology. He burst hydrogen-filled balloons, showed that sun cream looks like shoe polish in infrared light, and demonstrated how a suitcase with a rotating disk develops a life of its own. And he also had the almost 1,000 spectators in the packed lecture hall recite the physical principle behind it together, namely: "THE LAW OF CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM". There was huge round of applause for the brilliant start.

The topic of artificial intelligence is currently on everyone's lips, and the experts from the AI Center at RWTH Aachen University not only provided a clear and entertaining explanation of what AI actually is, but also demonstrated how it can help us in our everyday lives. "We want human-centered AI that doesn't replace people, but supports them," said Professor Holger Hoos, one of the directors of the center. His colleague Professor Sebastian Trimpe used a balancing stick to impressively demonstrate how machines learn and what impact this has on autonomous driving, for example.

If you wanted to see everything that evening, you had to have a tight schedule. More than 100 events were offered at eight different locations, from classical lectures to shows, demonstrations, experiments, guided tours and music-making with light. Professor Christina Büsing gave an entertaining explanation of how mathematics can make life easier, Professor Kai-Uwe Schröder spoke about a breakdown service in space and the Foundry Institute impressively demonstrated how seemingly archaic processes can be part of a sustainable future. But who would have guessed that Aachen's arguably largest model railroad would be at RWTH Aachen University? The "Railway Technology Teaching and Experimental Facility" really delighted all the people who attended.

Rector Ulrich Rüdiger had promised "exciting, amazing, and brand new things" for this special evening - just how well this concept was received became clear when a fire alarm went off by mistake at around half past nine - all guests had to leave the building. When the fire department gave the all-clear just under an hour later, the C.A.R.L. quickly filled up again, with the vast majority having braved the darkness, cold and rain outside the gates of the lecture hall center to experience "live research" until midnight.

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Die RWTH-Wissenschaftsnacht 2023