Girls’ Day 2024

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For many years now, the Faculty of Science at FAU has been participating in Girls’ Day, and this year the girls could expect an exciting and motivating program:

The offer with contributions on the topics “Exploring the hidden physics in the animal world together”, “The hot and energetic universe”, and “Earth in transition – Why are rocks not eternal?” met with great interest. Approximately 30 girls from Erlangen and the surrounding area took advantage of the opportunity to get a taste of physics and earth sciences. The age range was from grades 6 to 11, with the majority of participants (about 90%) attending a grammar school. The Girls’ Day at FAU is organized by the Office for Gender and Diversity in collaboration with the Women’s Representatives. In 2024, the responsible persons at the Faculty of Sciences were Dr. Angela Fösel (Physics Education), Katrin Streil (Astronomy), and Dr. Katrin Hurle (Earth Sciences).

Diverse program and role models

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After a brief welcome by Dr. Angela Fösel (Physics Education), Prof. Dr. Barbara Kleine-Marshall (Professor of Geochemistry and Ore Deposits) impressed with an illustrative report on the compatibility of research and family. Dr. Angela Fösel and a team of prospective physics teachers as well as bachelor students in physics allowed the girls to experience the acoustics of bats in motivating model experiments.

Through numerous activities, the girls were able to learn how bats orient themselves in space and communicate with each other using ultrasound. The girls also had the opportunity to investigate in the experiment how bats can differentiate between different surfaces by analyzing the echo of a previously emitted call. This is crucial for the “hunters of the night” as they typically consume two-thirds of their body weight in one night, such as mosquitoes. To do this, they must be able to distinguish between surfaces like pond surfaces and concrete surfaces with certainty.

Katrin Streil explained which mysteries of the universe scientists are specifically pursuing at FAU. Impressively and enthusiastically, she described the methods that researchers use to investigate fundamental questions.

At three different experimental stations, the students received insights into the diverse world of earth sciences from Dr. Katrin Hurle and other female geoscientists. They learned how to determine minerals using simple tools such as the Mohs hardness scale or a porcelain plate. Through diagrams and rock samples, they learned how plate tectonics change the landscape and how rocks are altered by these processes. Additionally, they were able to dive into Earth’s history through a geological time scale, real fossils, and plush toys.

At the end of the event, representatives from the various departments were available for questions. The girls gladly took advantage of this opportunity for exchange, and they showed great interest in learning about further activities of the Faculty of Science. One of the presentations included the Erlangen Student Research Center (, where students can conduct research on their own projects during a one-week research camp; these projects can range from fundamental research projects to Jugend forscht projects or projects typically undertaken in W-seminars at grammar schools.

Dr. Angela Fösel, Physics Education