This year’s Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) at KAUST saw the itinerary for visiting Thuwal students extended to include exhibiting for the first time at the Science Fair. Each year WEP aims to ‘enrich and inspire’ all who attend, with its invited audience including University students, the KAUST community, academic and industrial partners and members of our host community of Thuwal and Qadimah.
190 students from Thuwal intermediate and high school visited WEP2019 over two days. For the 40 Intermediate students that exhibited at the Science Fair, the experiments they demonstrated in their booths were the culmination of a series of workshops organized as a collaboration between Thuwal Intermediate Boys and Girls Schools, Social Responsibility, Professor Stefan Arold’s BESE lab and KAUST Research Park tenant Merck Life Science.
The High School students attended the lecture Chasing After the First Black Holes, delivered by Professor Priyamvada Natarajan, a theoretical astrophysicist in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. The students found the lecture fascinating and really appreciated that the Professor took the time afterwards on the Spine and in the University Library to answer individual questions. The Professor herself was equally impressed, and in conversation with the Thuwal students, said how pleased she was to see so many girls in the audience and really encouraged them to pursue their interest in science and, naturally, a career in physics!
Students viewed a screening of the NOVA production, The Big Bang Machine, about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), followed by a visit to the CERN tunnel exhibit which neatly physicalized the students’ understanding of the workings of the LHC by inviting the students to play Proton Football. The game demonstrates how particles are accelerated and what happens when protons collide. The students discovered that the harder they kicked, the more energy generated in the collusion and the more particles produced.
In between the lectures, films and exhibitions students were given the chance to test their driving skills in a virtual reality simulator. With a racing car style driving seat in front of a large screen, reactive pedals and steering wheel, some found it a little too realistic!
WEP 2019 was brought to a close with a Gala Ceremony which guests from the Thuwal community attended and afterwards were able to peruse the Farmers Market. Thank you to all our the KGSP Alumni, TKS students and PhD students that supported the Thuwal students with their volunteering, thank you to the WEP team for the superb schedule. The closing thanks comes from one of the visiting students, Sarah at Thuwal High School for Girls: “It was amazing. I hope that we come gain to do more exciting things; we learned a lot in just a little time. Thanks for everything.”
Thuwal students participated as part of KAUST's Young Learners' Development Program - read the Program Overview here.
January 24, 2019