Spring fever in science

2019-03-26

Thirty-two third-year Bioengineering students at UNamur visited the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN). "We immersed them in the fascinating world of nuclear science and technology. We took them to unprecedented heights with our space research but also took them 225 metres below ground to our HADES research laboratory", winked Sarah Baatout (SCK•CEN), researcher and departmental guide. The visit is part of "Printemps des Sciences", an initiative of the French-speaking universities in Belgium.

A new edition of "Printemps des Sciences" is set to take place from 25 to 31 March. "Printemps des Sciences" is an initiative of all French-speaking universities in Belgium who are hoping to make science more accessible to the general public. It is a week full of exciting exhibitions, laboratory visits, conferences and workshops for curious science enthusiasts, schools and families. This edition is dedicated to "Élémentaire". "Everything that surrounds us consists of barely one hundred elements: the oxygen we breathe, the calcium in our bones, and even the universe. The subject is right up our street! That's why we decided to participate in this extremely interesting science week and to organise a Space Day for third-year Bioengineering students at UNamur", explains researcher Sarah Baatout. "The programme is filled with activities."

A rich programme

The programme included space dosimetry, animals in space, experiments on spirulina and lectures on space exploration and life support, to name but a few examples. "For example, we are working on a life support system that will enable manned space travel to Mars. Crews will be able to produce drinking water, food and oxygen themselves by recycling their waste. So today's urine is tomorrow's coffee, but yesterday's coffee is also today's coffee. The water in the space capsule is, in fact, recycled an infinite number of times", explains researcher Natalie Leys. Of course that "coffee" is not made in one day. "The water goes through many stages in the recycling process." After these stimulating sessions, the students of UNamur visited the HADES underground research laboratory. The visit was very popular with the students of UNamur. "An inspiring discovery in the heart of the Earth and space ", say the students.