Published: 20 March 2014

Open laboratory day

Lucia Perez Gandarillas (ERS4) collaborated actively in an activity "La Main à la Pâte."

On 20 March 2014, the activity “La Main à la Pâte” took place in Ecole des Mines d’Albi. “La Main à la Pâte”, which means “The hands-on”, was initiated by Georges Charpak, Nobel Prize of Physics. The main objective is to open the laboratories to children in order to favour the dissemination of science. This great scientist (Georges Charpak) has noticed that, "a mind trained in scientific reasoning is less permeable to prejudice". Learning science from an early age can form "free beings, able to find a truth which is not levelled at them"(1). Since 1995, an increasing success is observed in France, which demonstrates widely the social utility of this day.

Eleven schools from the French department of Tarn were invited and “La Main à la Pâte” was carried out thanks to the collaboration of the staff and students from Ecole des Mines. During the event, the researchers presented their research activities, showing experiments and demonstrations. Nearly 270 children and their teachers had the opportunity to be close to different fields such as energy, environment, powders, or processing.

As part of the outreach activities included in the Work Package 6 (Dissemination and Outreach) of IPROCOM project, Lucia Perez Gandarillas (ESR4) collaborated actively in this event. A hands-on workshop called ‘Powders behaviour’ was organized by the powders-research group. As a small introduction, the three states of matter were explained. After that, experiments such as crystallization or absorption were run.

Lucia not only accompanied the children in the visit to the laboratories but also, as experimental part, she showed them what happens when we introduce everyday objects (balloon, marshmallow and shaving cream) in a bell jar.

The children showed big enthusiasm by discovering science and she was amazed by the curiosity of children. It was a very rewarding day. She realized how important the concept of “open laboratory for school kids” is.  La Main à la Pâte provides numerous bridges between elementary schools and schools of engineering and it fits perfectly into the path opened by Georges Charpak.

(1) Enfants, Chercheurs et Citoyens, G. Charpak, 1998 “Children, researchers and people, G. Charpak, 1998.

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