Girls’ Day 2024

Girls' Day 2024
Image: Angela Fösel / FAU

April 25th, 2024

The Faculty of Sciences at FAU has participated in Girls’ Day for many years. An exciting and motivating program awaited the girls again this year: The offer with contributions on the topics “Exploring the hidden physics in the animal world together”, “The hot and energetic universe” and “Earth in transition – Why are rocks not eternal?” met with great interest. About 30 girls from Erlangen and the surrounding area took up the offer to get a taste of physics and geosciences. The participants from grades 6-11 mainly attend a grammar school (approx. 90%).

Girls’ Day at FAU is organized by the Office for Gender and Diversity in cooperation with the Women’s Representatives. Those responsible at the Faculty of Sciences in 2024 were Dr. Angela Fösel (Physics Education), Katrin Streil (Astronomy) and Dr. Katrin Hurle (Earth Sciences).

Diverse program and role models

After a brief welcome by Dr. Angela Fösel (Physics Education), Prof. Dr. Barbara Kleine- Marshall (Professor of Geochemistry and Ore Deposits) impressed with an illustrative report on the compatibility of research and family. Dr. Angela Fösel and a team of prospective physics teachers as well as bachelor students in physics allowed the girls to experience the acoustics of bats in motivating model experiments. Through numerous activities, the girls were able to learn how bats orient themselves in space and communicate with each other using ultrasound. The girls also had the opportunity to investigate in the experiment how bats can differentiate between different surfaces by analyzing the echo of a previously emitted call. This is crucial for the “hunters of the night” as they typically consume two-thirds of their body weight in one night, such as mosquitoes. To do this, they must be able to distinguish between surfaces like pond surfaces and concrete
surfaces with certainty.

Katrin Streil explained which mysteries of the universe scientists are specifically pursuing at FAU. Impressively and enthusiastically, she described the methods that researchers use to
investigate fundamental questions. At three different experimental stations, the students received insights into the diverse world of earth sciences from Dr. Katrin Hurle and other female
geoscientists. They learned how to determine minerals using simple tools such as the Mohs hardness scale or a porcelain plate. Through diagrams and rock samples, they learned how plate tectonics change the landscape and how rocks are altered by these processes. Additionally, they were able to dive into Earth’s history through a geological time scale, real fossils, and plush toys.
At the end of the event, representatives from the various departments were available for questions. The girls gladly took advantage of this opportunity for exchange, and they showed great interest in learning about further activities of the Faculty of Science. One of the presentations included the Erlangen Student Research Center, where students can conduct research on their own projects during a one-week research camp. these projects can range from fundamental research projects to Jugend forscht projects or projects typically undertaken in W-seminars at grammar schools.


Dr. Angela Fösel
Didaktik der Physik