Campus and Community

First Open Day: Técnico hosts Science Fair with 50 projects simultaneously

Técnico Open Day attracts 1,300 visitors in an afternoon with a science fair, 23 visits to laboratories and museums, a movie, a birthday cake and a concert.

The First Open Day took place on the date that marked the 111th anniversary of the Técnico  – on May 23. After not being able to celebrate the previous anniversary with the highlight that the occasion deserves, during the period of the pandemic, the school wanted to innovate and provide new experiences to visitors. A tent of 1,000 m2 was set up at Alameda do Técnico with several activities taking place simultaneously. Kids, young people and adults made their way to campus, totaling 1,300 visitors.

The lecture “Explain to me as if I was 5 years old” made the opening of the afternoon with Professor Isabel Ribeiro, professor in the Department of Electrotechnical and Computer Engineering (DEEC) and researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics (ISR). As a pioneer in research in mobile robotics in Portugal, she was the ideal person to answer the question “How to make a robot?”. To obtain answers to this question, 164 children, students of the 1st Cycle, between 5 and 9 years old, attended the Noble Hall. “They loved the robots part and then had the opportunity to touch, see and experiment,” said Professor Sonia Mouta of Escola Básica São João de Deus.

At the same time, the Science Fair was starting in the tent set up abroad, which was open to the public between 2:30 pm. and 10 pm. There were 50 projects and various activities promoted by research units, student centers, the Students Association (AEIST) and the Technical Services. The Guides of the Student Support Center (NAPE) helped to direct the classes of the youngest to the outdoor tent.

“This is very interesting and it is good to awaken the curiosity of the kids to know how things work,” said Professor Zilda Mota, from Escola Básica O Leão de Arroios, who brought a 3rd grade class to The Open Day. Professor Anabela Paredes, from Externato Luso-Britânico, said that her students “are liking, interacting and asking a lot of questions”, while professor Sandra Belmarce, from Escola Básica do Bairro de São Miguel, expressed the importance of these initiatives, because children can have “contact with experiences they usually don’t have at school.”

“We have some experiences prepared for children, namely experiences that are visually attractive. I think they’re really enjoying it. It always creates that pet to know, to learn more”, says Maria Gesteiro, Coordinator of the Science and Technology field of AEIST, while a colored foam rises and the children show their curiosity and admiration. At the end of the demonstration, there were gums to reward the most resilient young people, who watched the experiment until the end.

On the other side of the tent, David Belchior, from the Department of Computer Engineering (DEI), doesn’t hide his admiration as he realizes that such young children are already beginning to ask how to program and what is necessary to join Técnico, experience also shared by Daniela Machado, of GameDev Técnico student center who says that “it’s good to see them, the younger ones, already thinking about college. They don’t just play games. They already see how games are made. It gives us a lot of hope for the future of our country, for the future of this industry,” she says.

But at this Science Fair there was so much more to see. It was possible to have a closer contact with some prototypes of cars and motorcycles developed by the students of the Mechanical Engineering Department (DEM), make slime with the help of Mário Vale of the Center for Natural Resources and Environment (CERENA), observe the fauna and flora of Portugal and Brazil with the help of Maria José Ferreira of the Group of AI for People and Society  (GAIPS), that belongs to the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering – Research and Development (INESC-ID), and many other activities ready to discover. 420 children from the 1st cycle and 700 visitors from the other age groups and public sat at the Science Fair.

In what is the area occupied by the facilities of Técnico, there is always one or more laboratories and much to see, in most of the buildings. This is more than an enough reason to start visiting the laboratories and museums. The research units took over the demonstrations and activities in the laboratories, which welcomed the most curious persons in 24 different thematic visits, from 5 pm to 9 pm.

In the late afternoon the birthday cake waited next to the façade of the Central Building, near the streetfood stalls, which remained in operation until the closing of the event. Congratulations were sung with the performance of Tunas do Técnico (TUIST and TFIST) and Grupo de Cantares Tradicionais. The sound of the tambourines was heard. The covers of the students were on the move and the academic spirit took over the place. Visitors approached and celebrated the birthday party that was far from the end.

PaleoMoz: Mozambique, a story undiscovered” was the film that was seen at the GA1 amphitheater. Directed by Sebastián Espinoza Crocco, the project of Ricardo Araujo, researcher at the Institute of Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion (IPFN) considers the complexity of fieldwork in the most remote areas of the country and depicts fossil discoveries by a team of paleontologists during the PaleoMoz 2019 expedition. The production was supported and funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF).

To close, at 9:30 pm, a concert was held with the Opera Orchestra at the Academy and in the City. The show was attended by Jorge Moyano, on the piano, and Rómulo Assis, on the violin. Two musical pieces by Robert Schuman and Astor Piazzola were performed, under the direction of José Ferreira Lobo. The concert ended after 23 hours, not without first having a participation of the Tunas do Técnico, accompanied by the orchestra, in a moment that pleased all those who occupied much of the chairs of the Noble Hall. For those who didn’t have the opportunity to be present, this year, just wait for the next edition in 2023.

Access the event’s image gallery.