College students participated in advanced micro- and nanotechnology course
Professor Hele Savin explained the potential of solar energy.
College students from Olari and Haukilahti got a glimpse of life as a university student or researcher through participation in an advanced course organised by Micronova, Aalto's LUMA Centre, and Olari's College of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The four-day course included an introduction to solar electricity and exploration of areas such as how led lights operate, why nanotechnology is made in clean rooms, and what the world looks like under the researcher's microscope.
The course's popularity was evident in the fact that there wasn't room this year for all those wanting to participate. A total number of 18 students took part.
The topic for the first day was solar electricity. Assistant Professor Hele Savin, who together with her research group have obtained the record-breaking efficiency on nanostructured silicon solar cells, gave the college students an introduction to how solar energy is turned into electricity. The theoretical information was needed for the day's practical challenges.
'Solar electricity is set to be an important issue in the future', and a major source of employment, explained Savin.
Especially with regards to college students' future working life, energy-related questions are set to play an interesting role.
Learning into practice through practical challenges
The students were divided into three groups. The task for each group was to solve three practical challenges during the first day of the course.
The cardboard box contained building material for a battery-powered model car.
The first challenge was to construct a battery-powered model car which would be powered by solar energy. The college group first had to calculate the charge needed to move the model car a distance of 30 metres.
The second challenge then focused on different types and solar cells and their different structures, and the last challenge involved considering how solar energy could be utilised both in Finland and elsewhere.
One of the basic thoughts behind the course was that through practical activities it is easy to make scientific questions concrete for the students. An additional aim was to raise awareness about subjects related to mathematical natural sciences, the subjects studied in LUMA Centres, and thus raise interest in these areas of study. The people supervising the three groups were either undergraduates, masters students, or graduated doctors of science. While working on the challenges, the students were also able to ask them about their experiences of university and studying.
Photos: Annika Artimo / Aalto University
LUMA activities in Otaniemi
The aim of the activity is to support and advance teaching and learning in the natural sciences, mathematics, and technology at all levels as well as interest felt toward these topics by children and young people.