The 2nd edition of the Técnico Open Day included a day dedicated to individual visitors and families and a new feature, compared to the previous day: a science fair hosted by researchers and students, which involved the exhibition of more than 40 innovative research projects.
On 20th May, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Técnico – Alameda campus was filled with visitors. The queue to sign up for laboratory activities started even before the opening hour and several visits were sold out throughout the day.
For Luísa Marcelino and Maria Patrício, the morning began at the Mechanical Technology Laboratory. There, Inês Almeida, a researcher from the Mechanical Engineering Institute (IDMEC), tried to answer the question: “How it’s made? Forging, welding (friction or spot welding) and casting were some of the manufacturing processes demonstrated. Maria Patrício, a 8th grade student, attended the event because she is “interested in science”, Luísa Marcelino, a 12th grade student, sees herself as a Mechanical Engineer in the future. “I attended the “Verão na ULisboa” summer school and I decided to come. I was undecisive between two options, but I liked Mechanical Engineering”, she explains.
Using a non-destructive technique, the visitors of CERENA’s Multi-scale Imaging Lab got to know “What’s inside the Kinder Egg”. The high resolution of the images obtained – superior to that of a Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) – allows for the reconstruction in three dimensions (3D) of the object hidden in the egg, a dinosaur, in this case.
The activity organised by the Department of Bioengineering “Cells in genetics, diseases and in the fighting of climate change” was one of the most crowded since the beginning of the morning. And even those who have already chosen to follow a different scientific area did not want to miss the opportunity to come, like Luísa Marcelino who wanted “to learn more about the subjects that she also likes”. After the Mechanical Engineering activity, which involved plastic deformations, it was time to showcase the multidrug-resistant bacteria Burkholderia cepacia and the toxicity and efficiency tests (fighting infection); as well as tumour cells and the testing of therapies in cellular samples from patients, and molecular biology and genetics.
At the Science Fair, the attention was divided. The activity promoted by the Students’ Union – Mini-Engineering – made evident the difference between the density of oil and water. Carmen Bacariza and Karina Shimizu, researchers at Centro de Química Estrutural (CQE), used Star Wars figures and other elements of popular culture to explain “What are catalysts and what are their role in improving the environment?
Tiago Faria and Nuno Canha, researchers from Técnico’s Center for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies (C2TN), also talked about environmental issues. “Does the air belong to everyone?”, they asked. It may be, but its quality varies, as can be seen in a model of Lisbon city. The work carried out by this team involves understanding sources of pollution and identifying measures to act on them. To this end, they have created, for example, decision support tools such as Life Index Air.
This Saturday, Técnico welcomed more than a thousand visitors of all ages, grouped into 40 activities conducted at the Science Fair and in 14 laboratories. On the previous day, the Alameda campus hosted several secondary school students.