Catching up after Corona

As part of the nationwide initiative Catching up after Corona (“Aufholen nach Corona”), the MPQ student lab has launched a programme to get students interested in lasers, light and geometric patterns.

For five weeks, on one afternoon per week, participants can try out experiments at the MPQ student lab, learn about current research topics, as well as catch up with learning gaps that might have arisen due to the pandemic. A first pilot project has already launched successfully, with further projects to take place throughout the year.

For nearly two years, life at German schools has been subject to the pandemic. Due to the alternation between distance and in-person teaching, many students have lost their fun in learning. As part of the nationwide initiative Catching Up after Corona (“Aufholen nach Corona”9, the MPQ student lab has therefore launched several courses in cooperation with the association of Munich Student Laboratories (MUC-labs). The project aims to introduce participants to the exciting world of physics – and to rekindle their joy of learning! "Together with other school laboratories, we thought about what a motivating programme could look like. Focusing on Garching Campus with its diverse offerings was an obvious choice. The first programme is therefore a cooperation with ix-quadrat, the student laboratory for mathematics at TUM," explains the head of PhotonLab, Dr. Silke Stähler-Schöpf.

“It's great to have the chance to talk to real scientists!"

The pilot project "Lasers and Amazing Patterns" successfully launched at the beginning of this year. For five weeks on one afternoon per week, the eight participating pupils gained insight into the world of lasers and light. Illustrative models such as the quantum cube or or the nitrogen railway helped explain complex quantum physical phenomena such as superconductivity and entanglement in a playful way. On two afternoons the students tried out the experiments at the MPQ school lab, with geometric patterns and mathematical puzzles in the ix-quadrat of the TU Munich. The highlight and conclusion was a labtour at the Center for Advanced Laser Science Applications (CALA), where the eight participants learned how ultra-short laser pulses are to be used for early cancer detection. Silke Stähler-Schöpf considers the programme a success. Despite the long commute the students had many questions. And many found it "´great to talk to a real scientist!", according to one participant.

Project Laser and Light to follow

The follow-up project "Laser and Light" is already in the pipeline and will deal with the topics of geometric optics, wave optics and quantum physics. Like the first project, it will span a period of five weeks and will take place once a week for two hours each. Participants can experiment with lenses for geometric optics, build a telescope out of cardboard and try their hand at experiments in the MPQ school laboratory PhotonLab. And once again, the project conclude with a lab tour on the fifth and final day. Good news: admissions are still open and welcome! For more details on how to apply, please see below.

Holiday course Five Times Five

Additionally, the holiday course "Five times five" will take place in cooperation with the MUC-Labs, with a visit to a different student lab on each day of the week. Applications are still welcome, for more info on how to apply, please see below.

Curious? There are still places available for interested pupils! Further information on the programme of the Munich school labs can be found at or at             

Who? Students aged 14 and older (2G+)

Where? Garching/Research Campus and other student labs in Munich                                          

Students who are interested in the programme or teachers who would like their students to participate in the programme, please contact:

Dr. Silke Stähler-Schöpf
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
Hans-Kopfermann-Str. 1
85748 Garching, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 32 905 - 197
E-mail: staehler-schoepf@...

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