Girls as researchers

March 28, 2019

Tricky questions, recalcitrant computers, working not in your mother tongue – the girls visiting MPA for this year’s Girls’ Day were faced with many challenges. Fortunately, MPA scientists supported them in their tasks so that at the end of a very busy day, all groups not only finished their tasks but also got an insight into what it means to be working at a scientific institute.

For the 20 girls, who visited MPA this year for the Girls’ Day, the day started with a journey to the beginning of the universe – in our digital planetarium, moderated live by a junior MPA scientist. This provided an overview of the many different topics that scientists at MPA work on, but at the same time the girls were confronted with the fact that the working language at such a scientific institute is English. However, this was not an obstacle for many interesting questions and discussions, which were continued in the following tasks.

Most of the day, the girls spent on actively exploring different astronomical topics. Split into four groups, they could choose between observing stars and galaxies, or rather how to interpret observations correctly, and the composition and evolution of our universe, derived from theoretical considerations and observations. A number of junior MPA scientists supported them and gave advice, on how to deal with computer programs or where to find answers for tricky questions, which are not easily found on the Internet.

Presenting results also is an important part of the daily work of researchers and so each group gave a short presentation to the other girls on what they had learned. At the end of a full day, a young female scientist gave a talk about herself and her field of research – the subsequent Q&A session could have gone on for a long time!

The next Girls' Day will take place on 26.03.2020.

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