How to make nylon
– and how does the surface of a fly look like?

23 young women participate in the Girls’ Day at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung

April 28, 2022

A group of 23 school girls came to visit the institute and got an insight into the work of technicians, PHD students and group leaders. 

What does a scientist's day at work look like, and what does a technician do in the lab? And what do you have to do if you want to become a professor? At this year's “Girls' Day” at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, 23 female pupils got an exciting insight into the work of a scientific institution.

Dr. Constanze Neumann, group leader at the institute, talked about the jobs that chemists are in demand for these days. She also explained the difference between the work of a technician and a scientist: "If you want to work more practically, you should probably become a technician." As a scientist, she said, you spend a lot of time reading scientific articles on the computer.

Not so during “Girls' Day” at the institute: In the lab, the girls were able to make nylon threads, they performed exciting color change experiments or had close looks at insects in the electron microscope. In his three-dimensional "Molecule Cinema" Dr. Alexander Auer showed how water, plastics or metals are structurally built. 

For many years The “Girls' Day” has been organized by Dr. Claudia Weidenthaler, Equal Opportunity Officer at Coal Research. She knows: "Many of the girls who get to know the institute on Girls' Day come back later. Perhaps for an internship, for an apprenticeship, or during their studies."

"The training is done jointly with our neighbor institute, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion," says technician Laila Sahraoui, responsible for the apprentices at the institute.  It is advisable to apply in good time; the recruitment tests are usually held the October of the year before the training starts.

After a two-year break due to corona, it was a great pleasure for the institute's staff to welcome the girls to the institute. Who knows, maybe one or the other will come back - as a new colleague at the Kohlenforschung.


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