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Excursion for high school students

Submitter: Annette de Boer
Description: Pupils from the high school, Kandinsky College of Nijmegen have the possibility to follow a master class on astronomy. During this master class, for six months the pupils follow one lesson per week devoted to varied topics that deal with astronomy. The master class is organized and given by a physics teacher, José Coppens, who studied astronomy. One of the goals of the course is that students become familiar with modern scientific research in astrophysics. It was a great opportunity that the series of classes this year could be concluded with an excursion to ASTRON and the radio telescope of Westerbork.

The students were very excited about the visit and reported on this day for their master class:
‘On January 18, 2012, we visited Astron with 11 students from 4 and 5 VWO. The transport was provided by the parents, who in this way were also involved in both the master class and the excursion.
The group was welcomed by Annette de Boer and started off with a presentation in an informal setting, by Joeri van Leeuwen. He does his own research into pulsars and neutron stars. In this course, many interesting topics passed, and the students asked many good questions. The level was in perfect accord with their prior knowledge. The general feeling was that one hour was far too short!

Then there was a tour at ASTRON. The students were informed about JIVE and NOVA and they had the opportunity to see the R & D labs and the control room. There were also models of the new generation of radio telescopes, such as LOFAR (designed and developed by ASTRON) and SKA.in which ASTRON plays one of the leading roles.

The day ended with a visit to the radio telescope of Westerbork. The dishes were very impressive to see. The group was pleased, despite the bad weather, to have some time near the telescope and listen to the stories. The front end was viewed in the lab and also the old control room here.

It was a very informative, interesting, but especially nice day. It is good that students have been able to visit a real research institute, where scientists and engineers work together.

Copyright: AdB
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