As part of the project several Popular Science Lectures were combined with hands on activities and visits to selected laboratories for all interested participants. It makes the opportunity to see scientists at work "in their natural environment". Participants can also see unique research equipment and learn more about the results that can be obtained by using it. The idea of this type of open days was born during conversations with participants of popular scientific lessons organized at the Institute. They often asked what we do, what kind of research we run, and how research results translate into everyday life. We decided that the best way to explain this would be laboratory visits and a conversation with scientists. The goal is to make these visits informal, so that participants can freely ask questions and if possible observe the research equipment in action.
Open day in the X-ray laboratory
Visits in the X-ray laboratory included demonstration of the X-ray diffractometer and preparation of the monocrystalline sample. Participants could prepare their own sucrose crystal samples and check what diffraction pattern they will get. Dr Luboradzki, the head of the lab, explained first of all the importance of knowledge of the crystal structure in modern chemistry and physics. He mentioned the correlation of the structure of the molecule with its reactivity and chemical properties. He also talked about the difficulties associated with the measurement of very complex molecules such as proteins or DNA and the fascinating history of crystallography. The discussion also focused on more general topics such as symmetry and its impact on everyday life. The visit took place on April 23th 2017 and gathered about 25 people.
Open day in Physical Optics and Biophotonics group
On May 21th 2018 prof. Wojtkowski and his POB team hosted about 25 visitors in his laboratory. They had the opportunity to see the unique, non-commercial equipment used during the research and listen prof. Wojtkowski talked about optical imaging of living tissues – the main research task. He discussed the latest problems of optical imaging and the achievement of this field, however in a form affordable to non-advanced listeners. What's more, visitors had the opportunity to observe simple experiments showing such optical phenomena as diffraction, interference or deflection of light. They could also build and test their own simple optical system using an optical table, lasers and professional equipment.