Laboratory for Pint-Sized Scientists
August 29, 2013
German pharmaceutical company Bayer has opened a multimedia popular science laboratory in Warsaw as part of its “Making Science Make Sense” global program to promote science among young people.
The Warsaw laboratory, referred to as a BayLab, is the second facility of its kind in Europe after one established in Germany. It has been launched under the auspices of Poland’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The BayLab project aims to not only get young people interested in science, but also enable them to learn new things—which are not usually taught at school. The company says it wants to inspire and encourage children to take a journey into the fascinating world of nature and science: to find out about inventions thanks to which our everyday life has changed significantly. Perhaps some of these children will go on to become scientists in the future, Bayer says.
Christophe Dumont (pictured), chairman of the board at Bayer’s Polish subsidiary, says the company wants to share with young people “the joy of discovering the world, exploring its mechanisms and understanding its processes.”
“We want young people to believe that they can achieve a lot,” Dumont says. “Having trust in their own abilities, supported by interests, is important not only for them but also for the development of a civil society and the economy. We will be sharing our knowledge so that our guests get to know about the latest achievements in science and how these are applied in practice.”
By the end of the 2012/2013 school year, about 600 students from elementary and junior high schools from Poland’s central Mazovia province—both state-run and private schools from Warsaw as well as the neighboring towns of Legionowo and Pruszków—took part in activities organized as part of the BayLab project in Warsaw, according to Bayer.
The workshops focused on four areas in which Bayer has global experience: the role of vitamins in the diet—demonstrating, through attractive experiments, that vitamins are essential in food; protection of crops, including being able to tell one type of grain from another; animal health, for example, how animals become infected by fleas; and treatment of water—what drinkable water is, what its sources are and how consumption varies in different countries.
Under the guidance of experienced moderators, children visiting the lab get to perform a range of experiments. They can use modern equipment and facilities, including a multimedia “touchtable” with applications dedicated to health, agriculture, and specialized materials. There are also 3D films about science, microscopes with LCD displays and the “Nutrition Clock” application showing the growing demand for food accompanied by the shrinking area of farmland.
The program also includes a Book of Home Experiments with examples of simple but fascinating experiments that every parent can carry out on their own at home with their children. The program is long-term in nature, the company says, and participation in the workshops is free of charge.