Record participation at the virtual Girls'Day of GSI and FAIR


GSI and FAIR participated in the Germany-wide day of action Girls'Day on April 22. Due to the Corona pandemic, the Girls'Day took place as a video conference in which 90 girls participated. For GSI and FAIR, this is a new participation record; additionally, due to the online format, there was also a chance for participants living far away all over Germany to take part in the event.

First thing in the morning at 9 a.m., the video conference kicked off with a welcome from the organizing Public Relations department and a greeting from Dorothee Sommer, Head of Human Resources. "Gender equality is very important for us here at GSI and FAIR," Sommer explained. "Our goal is to get girls excited about working in science and technology and to encourage them to include these fields of activity in their career choices. We offer apprenticeships and the opportunity to conduct final theses for bachelor's, master's or PhD degrees together with our university partners. We‘d be delighted if the participants later chose to apply to work with us!"

The event continued with a get-to-know-you game and an online tour of GSI's accelerator facilities and experiments, as well as the construction site for the international research center FAIR. Whether it was the linear accelerator, the tumor therapy, the production of new elements or the HADES experiment — the girls were able to take a look at all the facilities via pre-recorded videos. The construction of FAIR was presented via clips of the tests of magnets and of the FAIR construction work and via a drone flight over the construction site.

As in a real science conference, two different sessions then went into detail: the girls could choose from two modules in which specialist departments presented their fields of work and job profiles. In these, research departments such as materials research and the ALICE detector introduced themselves, and many of the technical departments on campus gave an insight into their activities. The participants learned how the small targets for the particle accelerator are produced in the target lab, how cryotechnology is used to obtain extremely low temperatures and thus operate superconducting magnets, how components can be manufactured by turning, milling and drilling in the mechanical workshop, or how huge amounts of data are processed in the computing center. In addition, there was information about how a PhD thesis at GSI/FAIR is conducted. And here, too, an insight into the FAIR construction site and the everyday work of the architects and civil engineers was part of the proceedings.

The participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the experts during each presentation and made good use of it: "What are all the professional fields you have?", "How much do physicists earn and how long did you study per day?", "Can you also research a supernova with a particle accelerator?" or "How many particles are sent through a particle accelerator on average?” That it was a successful day was shown by comments such as "Thank you for the great presentations, it was super great!" or "The day was cool, you learned a lot, and you could understand the lectures well."

"It was a different Girls'Day than we are used to from the on-site events. But we had a lot of fun!" reported physicist and organizer Carola Pomplun from the Public Relations department of GSI/FAIR. "We were very pleased about the great response to our online offer and, of course, the lively participation of the girls on the day of the event. The many colleagues from the technical departments who supported us so energetically during the event were able to convey their enthusiasm for working in research and technology and gave fascinating insights into their everyday professional life. I hope this helped us inspire a few girls to pursue careers in STEM fields."

Girls’Day is a day of action all over Germany. On this day, businesses, universities, and other institutions all over Germany open their doors to schoolgirls from grade 5 and above. The participants learn about courses of study and training in professions in the areas of IT, natural sciences, and technology — areas in which women have rarely been employed in the past. GSI and — since its foundation — also FAIR have been participating in the annual event since the early days of Girls'Day. (CP)

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