26 secondary school pupils from Year 6 of the European School Mol arrived early on Monday morning at JRC-IRMM, with great enthusiasm, to start their day learning how to apply some scientific techniques.
The students had been well prepared in basic principles in chemistry, biology and physics. Each student was able to choose one of five topics in which to immerse themselves for the day. These topics were 1) Enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) tests coupled with the art of pipetting and weighing, 2) protein separation by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, 3) separation of synthetic sweeteners by thin layer chromatography, 4) guided visit to the linear accelerator facility followed by a transmission experiment, guided visit to the Van de Graaff followed by explanations and measuring radioactivity in the radionuclide laboratories and finally 5) for the biotechnology focus group learning how to purify auto-antibodies.
Teachers find that the pupils return to school with a greater understanding of the need for scientific measurements and also with some new perspectives on possible careers in science.