“It’s been fun to look around and see everything here. What I liked the most were the robots that answered our questions,” said Colin Hellner, a year 7 student at Vättleskolan outside Gothenburg.
Alongside a total of 600 other year 7 students from various schools around the country, Colin visited Tekniska museet in Stockholm on Tuesday for a full day arranged as part of IVA’s 100th anniversary celebration. Lots of interesting lecturers, researchers and engineers were also invited to meet with and motivate the students.
“Above all we wanted to provide inspiration; to show them that it is worth working hard at school because you can get to experience great things,” said Christer Fuglesang, Sweden’s first astronaut and one of the lecturers at the event.
Although not many of the students were aspiring to a career as an astronaut, several of them already had a big interest in technology – or became even more interested during the day at Tekniska museet.
“I’d like to be a mechanic because I want to fix motorbikes,” said Oliver Vrubel, while he was learning to program a route around a fictitious Mars landscape for a small, customised remote-controlled vehicle.
At the next computer Xiang Cen was behind the wheel of another miniature car and was doing a great job:
“It’s not hard because we learned programming in year 5 and 6, so I know a bit about it already,” said Xiang Cen, who would like to be an ambassador when he grows up.
According to engineering students Emma Johansson and Mikael Glamheden from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), the purpose of the Mars vehicle exercise was to get children interested in programming, robotics and self-driving cars.
At another station some students were learning about ultrasound diagnostics. Noor Taomma, also from Vättleskolan, was being a guinea pig using ultrasound gel on her arm to perform an exam and see the result blown up on a monitor.
“I got to see what my muscles and blood vessels look like. The gel was cold but my body warmed it up. It was really cool,” she said about the exam.
One of the more unusual lectures was about how it’s now possible to cultivate meat from, for example, a cow to create whole hamburgers without any animal losing its life. The lecture was given by Julie Gold, associate professor in biomaterials at Chalmers University of Technology.
“It’s really exciting. We cultivate meat in the same way as we cultivate tissue and try to cultivate organs for humans by taking stem cells from an animal and then work on getting them to multiply. Eventually we’re going to try to cultivate an entire muscle instead of small muscle fibres,” said Julie Gold.
The day at Tekniska museet showed how research and new technology can have much broader applications than the ones we think about today. David Sumpter, a professor in applied mathematics at Uppsala University and a data analyst at Hammarby IF football club talked about how he uses mathematics to develop football.
“Football is a very geometric sport. Think about all of the angles that are involved; all of the movements and all of the patterns that a team creates. A lot of it is based on mathematical patterns and principles,” said David Sumpter.