“What are you doing tomorrow?” The retired physics teacher and his wife from the vicinity of Bopfingen need not think twice. “We are looking for the car battery of the future,” says the elderly gentleman, laughing, before the couple marches off towards the Materials Research Institute. “What are you doing tomorrow?” – under this motto on Friday the visitors of the open day at Aalen University could immerse themselves in the fascinating world of science. On the Beethovenstraße campus, professors, researchers, students and staff showed how they contribute to the world of tomorrow through their studies and their work.
Whether it’s lightweight construction, 3D printing, electromobility, data science or artificial intelligence – on its open day Aalen University presented the topics of the future. Over 100 program points invited to join in and be amazed. The visitors had the opportunity to inform themselves about the study programs and subject areas, to have a look into the lecture halls and laboratories as well as to talk to professors, students and alumni.
A big attraction is the adventure print “expedition d”, which stops in front of the auditorium. The educational initiative “expedition d – Digital Technologies | Applications | Professions” of the Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung shows how our professional world is changing and how young people can help shape the digital transformation. In the two-story expedition mobile, teens can get to know key technologies such as robotics, virtual reality, 3D printing, sensors, facial recognition, artificial intelligence or computer vision at various stations. They also have to solve practical tasks, for example, set up a room with augmented reality or reconstruct the missing handle of an old vase with 3D printing – or park a car with three different sensors. That’s what Felix Ilshöfer is trying to do. The 14-year-old has come together with his mother, younger brother and buddy to get a glimpse into the big world of technology. “The boys are in ninth grade and have to do an internship soon. We want to get a little inspiration here,”explains Margit Ilshöfer and laughs.
Whether foundry technology, laser technology, metal and ceramic printing, test drive on a recumbent tandem in lightweight construction, immersion in the Blue Lagoon at the Institute for Materials Research with Gratiseis – the visitors are spoiled for choice. The other locations of the university, such as the degree course Internet of Things in the Forum Gold and Silver in Schwäbisch Gmünd or the faculties of electronics and computer science as well as optics and mechatronics or the start-up initiative “stAArtUP! De” and the innovation center are all on this day around the Beethovenstraße before. For the younger researchers, the explorhino school lab is also on site. Here, the offspring can explore natural phenomena and technology as well as taste molecular gastronomy à la Ferran Adrià: orange froth and fruit juice caviar in different flavors.
There are many “Ahs and Ohs” in the basement, where visitors can see the world through a scanning electron microscope and discover the fascinating structure of bee pollen. Or in the so-called “Makerspace”, where artistic structures develop their own life and mysteriously open and close luminous petals. This special study room was set up for the students of the degree program “Mechanical Engineering / Development: Design and Simulation”, where they can work with digital and real methods on their study-accompanying projects. Here also Jona and Sven make a short stopover on their foray through the university Aalen. “That’s all pretty cool”, find the 12-year-olds who have a weakness for fishing technique and in their free time also like to tinker. Next program point? Of course, the LaserApplikationsZentrum, where a small queue has already formed – is engraved here with ballpoint pens using laser technology, the own signature. Meanwhile, Carolin Bieg comes straight from the introductory lecture “Business Psychology” by Prof. Dr. med. Kerstin Rieder. “I came here specifically to listen to the lecture and to talk with students,” says the 16-year-old and adds: “That was really exciting. I could well imagine studying after graduation. ”
Werner Laveuve and his wife are also making a big tour of the university, their old “professional home”. The emeritus professor of electronics is one of the “pioneer professors” of the university, he taught from 1964 to 2000. “Beautiful times”, recalls the now 85-year-old and added in amazement: “Unbelievable how the university developed over the years, especially in the area of research. That’s really huge! ”
And while the open house is slowly moving into the early evening, everything is already being prepared for the science slam. Seven researchers from the university will then have a brief race for the trophy, the “Golden Brain” of the Aalen University of Applied Sciences, for the best “Slam” – a ten-minute short presentation on their own research. The topics are diverse: from autonomous racing cars, magnets and structures to laser sweeping weeks to personality studies through gaze tests, the slammers offer a colorful entertainment program. The audience applause finally decides in favor of Florian Trier. And so goes the “Golden Brain” for the best slam to the employee of the Institute for Materials Research at the University of Aalen (IMFAA). He had explained how to teach a stone to think with the help of programming monkeys – Florian Trier’s research deals with machine learning.