2020-02-26 | Doctoral student Salome Wörner and the Philosopher’s Slam
What does physics lessons have to do with the magic classes at Hogwarts? Quite a bit, according to Salome Woerner. The IWM doctoral student combined her research with Harry Potter magic at the Science Slam of the Tübingen PhD Days on February 19. As one of five young researchers, the physicist and educationalist enchanted the packed auditorium of the Kupferbau. In ten-minute contributions on linguistics, the secret life of ponds and data fairies, the speakers competed for the loudest applause from the audience.
At the beginning of her slam “Expelliarmus and Experiments”, Salome Wörner explained why experiments of physic lessons are similar to the magic ones in Harry Potter: “They are not always understandable, often lead to chaos in the classroom or fail entirely.” But to make sure that children leave the classroom just as clever as model witch student Hermine Granger, Wörner is currently investigating in her dissertation at the IWM how experiments can be made more accessible. Her studies on different teaching concepts show that combinations of traditional hands-on experiments with virtual simulations are particularly helpful for knowledge acquisition. The virtual experiments can primarily illustrate invisible processes such as light refraction and are also interactive. Even if it wasn't enough to win first place in the slam at the end of the evening, the IWM doctoral candidate's evocative Harry Potter analogies provided many "Lumos" moments.