"And now who wants to become a physicist too?”

"And now who wants to become a physicist too?”

MPQ Girls' Day 2021. Capturing atoms with laser light – one day in the world of quantum optics. 

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, the MPQ Girls Day 2021 had to take place digitally. However, as it turns out, experiments with icy nitrogen and lab tours are equally fascinating online. In the end, the 20 participating girls are in agreement: female physicists are versatile, smart and important!

The superconductor experiment with icy nitrogen doesn’t lose any of its fascination on a screen.

We need you,“ doctoral student Sarah Hirthe emphasises at the end of her talk addressed to the 20 girls participating in the MPQ Girls' Day 2021. “That’s why I hope that some of you will agree after today that being a physicist is an amazing job!” More and more women choose a career in the sciences. The Girls Day initiative wants to support this trend and show girls as early as ages 11 to 16 just how fascinating and interesting – and, above all, female! – sciences, such as physics, can be.

Sarah Hirthe shows the girls one of the experiments that she and her colleagues work on in their lab. She has to wear protective goggles to protect herself from the invasive light of the active laser.

For the Girls' Day 2021, the MPQ has come up with a varied digital programme that allows the 20 participants to gain insight into various aspects of the work and tasks at MPQ. For example, a tour in a real lab at the Department for Quantum Many-Body Systems where the girls get to see the complicated set-up of experiments consisting of several thousand components. Equally impressive are the protective goggles that Sarah and her colleagues have to don in order to protect themselves from the invasive laser light. And, naturally, there is also much to learn and see at the MPQ student lab PhotonLab where Silke Stähler-Schöpf captures polystyrene globules with laser light in the “optical tweezer” experiment, or demonstrates how lasers work and how they are set up.

Silke Stähler-Schöpf explains how lasers work.

At all events, all the girls know the right answer to the final question of the Kahoot! Quiz “What are female physicists like?” They are versatile, smart and important, of course! And when asked whether they would consider becoming a physicist after MPQ Girls' Day, several hands go up. Maybe we’ll see one or the other again, at the Physics national competition, for example, or at the MPQ student lab.

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