« Fête de la science » is a national event in France founded by the ministry of education. With more than 3000 exhibitions and demonstrations, an exchange between visitors of all ages and researchers from all scientific fields is stimulated in all regions of France.
The 25th edition of the “Fête de la science” took place from 8-16 October 2016. During two days, the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal welcomed more than 20 school classes from different age groups in order to give them an insight into their activities. Several different workshops were organized by PhD students and postdocs, presenting some principles of soft matter and material science in an educational way. The workshops were held either in French or in English, depending on the students’ ages.
The DiStruc fellows Andrii and Marie participated in these activities through two different workshops. Andrii demonstrated “optical levitation of particles by laser beam” to the students, while Marie presented the “properties and applications of carbon nanotubes”.
At first I explained to the students how light interacts with matter by using two balls: a huge one represented a colloidal particle and a small one represented the photon. Then we went to the optical microscope to show how it works in reality. By using two cameras, one single spherical colloidal particle could be observed. When a laser beam was sent towards the particle, it started to move in the direction of beam propagation. After this demonstration, the students asked me about the applications of this technique in medicine and interstellar travelling. Our communication was in English. – Andrii
During our workshop, we explained the length scales of nanoparticles, the different forms of carbon and the properties of carbon nanotubes in simple words. Afterwards, we demonstrated the applications of carbon nanotubes by showing some examples from our lab. From my point of view, the most difficult part was to captivate the students' interest for our topics, especially the ones aged 14-15. An additional challenge for me was the exchange with the students in French. However, the two days were a great and enriching experience and the feedback we received from students and teachers was very positive. - Marie