A summer of exciting graphene events for adults and kids
Science, fun, creativity… and love
Beyond their groundbreaking research, our dedicated Graphene Flagship researchers and staff members are driven by a shared passion: spreading the wonders of graphene to non-experts.
This article aims to celebrate wonderful examples of science outreach that have taken place during summer 2023 or later, and applaud all those who volunteer and support these STEM outreach activities, sharing their knowledge on the science and applications of graphene outside of their laboratories.
Learning about graphene in the Nobel-winning location
How wonderful is it to replicate the experiment of Nobel Prize winners? Graphene was first isolated by two researchers at the University of Manchester in 2004 and a lot of progress has been done to produce graphene in high scale and quality over the years. Nevertheless, anybody can have fun replicating the original experiment with the sticky tape technique.
On 10 June 2023, the researchers of the Graphene Flagship Partner University of Manchester (UK) will be welcoming adults and kids at the Community Festival 2023. The audience will be invited to walk through the history of graphene from its discovery to future applications, make their own graphene samples and see how researchers are exploiting the incredible properties of this one-atom-thick material and other 2D materials.
Then their next big outreach event will take place at the famous music, science and culture event, BlueDot Festival in Cheshire (UK) on 20-23 July 2023.
These are only two of the numerous events about graphene organised by the University of Manchester. In the video below, Cyrill Busy from the University of Manchester tells us more about these events.
Tying the knot with a dash of graphene
Graphene is added to composites to make them stronger and more durable, but can it strengthen… love? Researchers from Graphene Flagship Partner Łukasiewicz – IMiF in Poland gifted their colleague with wedding rings made of American walnut wood, reduced graphene oxide and pyrite. The jewels were created in the workshop of Jakub Chęćka of Oak’n’roll, who specializes in unique wooden jewellery.
“The idea is closely related to the bride, our friend, who comes from Silesia, a region in Poland famous for coal. Since graphene can be derived from coal, we thought that a wedding gift with such a carbon nanomaterial is the perfect gift," says Patrycja Skoczek from the Łukasiewicz Marketing and Communication Department - IMiF.
“Reduced graphene oxide is made of carbon atoms mainly – just like the diamond our friend has in her engagement ring. In addition, it strengthens the materials to which it is added. Enchanted in wedding rings, it can metaphorically strengthen the feeling between the bride and groom," adds Adrian Chlanda, a researcher from Łukasiewicz - IMiF, who together with his team is developing Łukasiewicz – ImiF’s branded graphene (G-Flake) in his laboratory.
Earlier this year, Łukasiewicz - IMiF together with Krakow jewellers created heart-shaped jewels with graphene, gold and silver. They donated them for charity to the WOŚP auction. Both hearts were auctioned for a total of 2,500 euros.
Training the next generation of wannabe scientists
Do you remember that moment when you stepped into a real laboratory for the very first time? Graphene Flagship Partner the Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science (Hungary) has a long tradition of opening its doors to high-school students from Hungary and neighbouring countries.
As part of its efforts, the Institute organizes Open Days that include captivating lectures and engaging lab visits and a highly anticipated week-long Summer School program.
The Institute organises Open Days with lectures and lab visits for secondary school students and a week-long Summer School. Students aged 14-18 years old have the opportunity to apply and a board of senior scientists meticulously selects the most promising candidates. Once chosen, these fortunate students not only gain hands-on experience in the labs but also have the opportunity to join social activities and make new friends. While the events paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be organised again in the near future.
Furthermore, the Association of Hungarian Women in Science (https://nokatud.hu/eng/) celebrated the "International Girls in ICT Day" on 27 April 2023, with a nationwide program that included lectures and lab visits conducted mainly by women researchers who become role models for students.
A young participant, Balint Kiss said: “This Summer School is not only open to geniuses, but also to practical-minded students like me, who build and repair things. This research institute is like the Hungarian NASA. You can go to the most cool scientists and ask anything you like. The labs are full of fascinating instruments and the researchers showed me everything. You can also keep in contact with the researchers after the Summer School if you have more questions.”