Hands-On Science


On Friday, November 11, 2022, the popular RWTH Science Night "5 before 12" enters its 18th session.


What will the energy supply of the future look like? What role does hydrogen play as an energy carrier and how can each individual reduce his or her energy consumption? What have we learned from the flood disaster of 2021 and how does populism endanger democracy?

These questions are representative of an evening dominated by rousing science communication: The RWTH Science Night "5 vor 12" with its extensive program and impressive entertainment has long since established itself in the event calendars of Aachen and the region. On Friday, November 11, 2022, after a two-year break due to the pandemic, the time has come again: starting at 7pm, researchers will provide insights into the world of science at the C.A.R.L. Lecture Hall Center (Claßenstraße 11). Visitors can expect a colorful mix of scientific presentations in the form of lectures, spectacular experiments and exhibits. In total, the program includes around 30 lectures on a wide variety of topics from research and teaching.

The format has been steadily gaining popularity since its first edition in 2003. The team of the University's Press and Communications Department is responsible for the success of this event. The RWTH Science Night aims to intensify the dialogue between the public and science, to make it easier to understand science, and to provide an opportunity to get to know the scientific world in a relaxed atmosphere. "All interested parties are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to gain insightful and fascinating insights into the world of science and to experience our University in action," says the organizational head Thomas von Salzen from the Press and Communications Department.


A show full of answers to questions like "Why does our own voice sound so strange when recorded on a cell phone? How does a balloon become unbreakable, how far does the legendary Kinder Surprise cannon shoot, and what does that have to do with outer space?". These are the topics that Joachim "Jo" Hecker, science journalist, book author and science entertainer, will address in his show "Science is fun" at this year's Science Night.

Many other topics will be known to visitors directly through their everyday lives, showing the role science plays in our lives. The program includes, for example, presentations by Professor Gernot Marx, Clinic for Operative Intensive Care and Intermediate Care, on the topic of "Intensive Care in the Corona Pandemic - Lessons Learned & Perspectives for the Future" and "The 2021 Flood Disaster - What Have We Learned?" by Professor Holger Schüttrumpf from the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management.

In the foyer of the mining building, Wüllnerstraße 2, experiments and information will focus on the sustainable supply of people with energy using resource-conserving production processes, among other things. In experiments, exhibits and science slams, the institutes of aeronautics and astronautics, Wüllnerstrasse 7, will demonstrate that aviation can also be sustainable and it will also show how science can contribute to emission-free and climate-neutral aviation.

The role of hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future will be explained by the Hydrogen Future Cluster and insights will be provided into the Toyota Mirai hydrogen car, which will also be on display as an exhibit. Professor Anna Mechler from the Department of Electrochemical Reaction Engineering will then show from a chemical perspective why hydrogen is a small molecule with great potential, while the E.ON Energy Research Center will describe the energy transition as a whole from a scientific perspective. Professor Dirk Müller, Chair of Building and Indoor Climate Technology, shows visitors how gas consumption can be reduced and heating costs saved.

Professor Frank Lehmkuhl, Chair of Physical Geography and Geoecology, and Professor Nicole Richter, Junior Professor of Remote Sensing and Natural Hazards, will explain the effects of floods and volcanic eruptions. The Biology Department will suprise the guests with fluorescent plants, and enlighten them on the importance of the balance of nature and show them what we can learn from stick insects and water fleas.

In the show "Making Music with Light - Experiencing Music-Synchronous Laser Shows" by the Chair of Optical Systems Technology and MHL²-Laser&Lights, laser light images move amazingly in time with the music through the room. In addition, in the high-voltage show, visitors can experiment for themselves until their hair literally stands on end. The traditional physics fair will again show all kinds of physical phenomena and invites visitors to try their hand at many experiments.

The RWTH parking garage on Professor-Pirlet-Strasse will be open free of charge for Science Night visitors throughout the evening. Due to the bridge demolition at Turmstraße, the way to the lecture hall center leads via Professor-Pirlet-Straße and Seffenter Weg to the main entrance at Claßenstraße.

Further information