August 28, 2018

Robots, evolution, rockets, art and more

More than 60 elementary school children took part in IST Austria's fifth “Sommercampus” and spent a summer week carrying out exciting scientific experiments. Provincial Councilor Martin Eichtinger presented the certificates at the graduation event.

How do you become a scientist? What is it like to be one? These questions began this year’s summer campus at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST Austria): 62 children from Lower Austria and Vienna gathered on campus and heard about the experiences of researchers at the Institute. In the week that followed, the children studied physics, biology, computer science or art. The week concluded with a research exhibition and an award ceremony.

As in previous years, spots in IST Austria’s popular summer campus filled up almost immediately. Just over 60 places were available in four different groups, and inquisitive elementary school children from Lower Austria and Vienna jumped to take them. Twelve students from the Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich guided the children through this exciting holiday week, and employees of IST Austria and the Museum Gugging presented selected topics from science and the arts and engaged the children in hands-on, minds-on activities. The children discussed bacteria in extreme habitats as well as the evolutionary family tree of life and the colors of light, to name a few examples. They also experimented with the trajectory of Robin Hood's arrows, launched vinegar-powered rockets, built robots, and programmed computer games. An excursion to Stift Klosterneuburg with guided tours and creative workshops rounded off the program.

At the end of the week, the children presented their experiments in a research exhibition. Political representatives also took part in the closing ceremony. Provincial Councilor Martin Eichtinger—on behalf of Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner—presented the diplomas to the children, and Christoph Kaufmann, member of the State Parliament and of Klosterneuburg’s City Council—on behalf of Mayor Stefan Schmuckenschlager—congratulated the young graduates, as well as Elisabeth Windl, vice-rector of the Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich, and Maria Parucki from the Museum Gugging. Matthias Hofmeister-Kiss represented Stift Klosterneuburg, which joined as a Sommercampus cooperation partner for the first time this year. Deputy Managing Director Manuela Raith and Structural Biology Professor Florian Schur greeted the audience as representatives of IST Austria.

The Sommercampus was funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and was supported by the Department of Science and Research of the Federal State Government of Lower Austria.