During a visit to the hydraulics laboratory, Dídia Covas, professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, explains “the vapour pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure” in a pipe at room temperature “just like the taps at home” and “ocean waves are generated by wind”. In between experiments, there is much talk about the different types of civil engineering branches. “It is fundamental that we open our doors so that you can effectively choose the right course, when you come study here”, says the Técnico professor.
The first day of Técnico Open Day was dedicated exclusively to secondary school group visits. 24 laboratories welcomed secondary school students, who were able to learn that “it is possible to send secret messages using quantum bits” in the Quantum Technologies Laboratory. Maria Beatriz Costa, a final year student of master’s degree in Engineering Physics, leads the experiment: she explains the bases of cryptography, shows a bug and makes sure that everyone knows binary language (0 and 1), clarifying that there is no encryption in it. The visit continues to Qubite (a quantum bit) where she shows Schrödinger’s Cat, whose box prevents us from knowing if it is alive. Beatriz explains that in quantum cryptography, the key that allows the message decoding is transmitted and not the message itself.
The secondary school students were accompanied by their teachers. After the visit, João Bértolo, a teacher at D. Dinis Secondary School, is convinced that the group “has seen the applicability and continuity of what they learn at school”. As an example, he mentions the parameterisation of human movement observed in the Biomechanics Laboratory, which can be used in the creation of video games. This quantification obtained through movement analysis also allows high performance athletes to improve their performance and the development of medical devices to support human movement in individuals with pathologies that interfere with it.
This Open Day aims to showcase the educational opportunities and research at Técnico. The event is organised in partnership with the Students’ Union with the collaboration of Técnico’s Departments, Research Units and Students’ Organisations. The Open Day continues on 20 May and includes more guided tours and a Science Fair, with more than a thousand visits expected.