This year, future researchers and engineers were introduced to the science of tomorrow at BME TTK’s Science Camp.
Once again, many were interested in the BME TTK Science Camp, which was organised for the sixth time in 2022. More than 120 students from 66 different institutions and 77 municipalities submitted their applications, which meant three applicants for each place. The participants who were secondary school students interested in natural sciences and expected to choose a career soon became familiar with special and currently popular topics that are not often taught in public education (for example, quantum computers, fractals, nuclear fusion etc.). In addition to theoretical sessions, the camp included visits to several industrial partners.
“Thanks to the range of versatile and useful programmes offered, the Science Camp initiative, launched six years ago, has become very popular with secondary school students and is an excellent opportunity for the university to present the results in technology and science achieved at BME to the younger generation. In addition to demonstrating the importance and inner beauty of physics and mathematics, the camp also wanted young people to understand how interconnected natural sciences and other disciplines such as medicine, social science, economics, technology and information technology are,” said Márta Lángné Lázi, honorary professor of the Department of Analysis at BME TTK’s Institute of Mathematics, in explaining, on behalf of the organisers, the goals of the programme organised every year since 2016. She stressed that the camp was designed to allow students to learn in a demonstrative, experience-based and interactive way by obtaining direct knowledge and experience about work through their visits in laboratories and at companies and meeting former students of BME.
The programme was primarily designed for secondary school students who finished their 10th or 11th year and the application criteria included good academic results, an academic recommendation letter and a motivation letter. “This programme offers the most benefits for students who are interested in technology and natural sciences but are slightly uncertain about where to continue their studies. Perhaps, they have already decided to apply for one of the faculties of BME but they need more information, support and personal experience to make the final decision.”
Participation in the programme this year was once again provided free of charge by BME: “the programme has to be free in order to ensure equal opportunities. We thought it was important that the financial status of families should not affect the possibilities of young people keen on learning and obtaining new knowledge,” stressed Márta Láng, née Lázi. She added that applicants from places located further away from Budapest or outside Hungary were preferred as these students, due to the distance from Budapest, have fewer or no opportunities to attend the mostly one-day events organised at BME during the school year.
“BME has once again demonstrated clearly for the young participants, who were actively engaged in the programmes, how academic knowledge can be converted into valuable and useful competence and skills even during the current fourth industrial revolution. Regardless whether our future students will later work on the backend or frontend side at a creative start-up, as engineers of a leading technology company or members of social or natural science research teams, they have already experienced how knowledge is created at BME and how it contributes to the public good through companies using the technologies of the 21st century and the staff of research institutes,” said Márta Lángné Lázi in summarising the benefits of the knowledge and experiences offered by the programme.
The topics of the informative presentations included the meaning and importance of fractals (speaker: Balázs Bárány – senior research fellow, Department of Stochastics, Institute of Mathematics, BME TTK), the concept and basic terms of coding (speaker: Miklós Eper – mathematics MSc, BME TTK), the present and future of quantum computers (speaker: János Asbóth – associate professor, Department of Theoretical Physics, Institute of Physics, BME TTK). The participants also visited physics laboratories: the quantum electronics lab with Bálint Fülöp, the complex magnetic structures lab with Dániel Farkas, the quantum optics lab with Tamás Sarkadi and the atomic and molecular electronics lab with Anna Nyári and Botond Sánta.
The Science Camp participants visited BME’s corporate, industrial partner, Morgan Stanley, a financial services company, where they learned what a modern, well-equipped office looks like and how it works and then attended a Lego robot programming workshop. The students also went on a tour around the nuclear power plant in Paks, visited the Information and Visitor Centre and the exhibition of the Museum of Nuclear Energetics. The participants visited another business partner, Semilab Zrt., were invited to do some outdoor experimenting by the Jenő Wigner Experiment Group, explored the eye-tracking lab of Building R, were engaged in nuclear fusion plasma petting under the guidance of Gergő Pokol (associate professor, Institute of Nuclear Techniques, BME TTK), listened to a presentation on epidemics and NIMFAs as well as on 3D graphing with GeoGebra.
The programme also included community, team building games, sports classes in BME’s Sports Centre and cultural programmes: a theatre pedagogy session at Szkéné Theatre and various creative activities in the Bartók Quarter Gallery with the help of Bartók Boulevard Society. The students also showed great interest in the Visitor Centre presenting the 240-year history of BME.
“This camp offers first-hand information to students that may enormously influence their career choice as they are able to make a much more informed decision relying on this new information. Furthermore, we as instructors may directly learn about the new generation of university students, the academic conditions and their interests. We think that secondary school teachers play a key role in informing their students about their opportunities, encouraging them to be active, visit our events and get to know our university,” said Márta Láng, née Lázi about the academic background of the programme. As a new element of the programme, the secondary school teachers recommending the programme were also invited to the camp’s closing event this year. Guests to this closing event also included the members of the Science Camp Alumni Club set up in 2021.
A welcome speech at the closing event was delivered by Péter Bihari, BME’s vice-rector for education and Attila Aszódi, BME TTK’s dean. Participants at the event included András Pálfalvy, BME’s vice-chancellor, Ferenc Simon, BME TTK’s vice-dean for scientific and international affairs, deputy director of BME TTK’s Institute of Physics and Márta Lángné Lázi.
The organisers of this year’s BME TTK Science Camp were: Ferenc Simon (professional supervisor, BME TTK) Boldizsár Kardos (student coordinator, student camp leader), Márta Lángné Lázi (honorary professor, BME TTK), Júlia Esztergályos Vaczó (financial manager).
Photos: BME TTK Science Camp