Heidelberg Science Trip

From July 22nd to August 18th, Tano Nguyen ’19, Hanley Jefferis ’19, and Tim Chen ’19 traveled to Heidelberg, Germany in order to study high-level science with other high school students from around the world. Each student had an opportunity to intensely pursue subjects in advanced science that intrigued them by the end of the trip. For the first week, they visited different institutes around the area and listened to lectures on various fields within the scientific community, from universal physics to genetics.

Afterwards, each student was given supplies, a goal, and a team of other international students, and the opportunity to research without necessitating teacher guidance. For example, Nguyen had the opportunity to study at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy where he analyzed star data from a GAIA DR2 telescope and plotted HR diagrams to calculate the age of star clusters. As Nguyen described, “We were assigned with the goal we needed to reach, but we were not taught anything on our topic. We self-taught ourselves on the subject and tackled the problem hands-on. It was a fantastic experience, and I felt that I was an actual researcher.” Hanley Jefferis stated, “I really enjoyed further exploring biology and seeing machines I had never heard of before.”

In addition, students had the opportunity to enjoy several extracurricular activities around the area. Through the ISH team, students were able to participate in bicycle riding across Heidelberg, various parkour courses, and other fun activities with students attending the same program. In addition, students had the opportunity to meet up with any friends of theirs in Germany at the time and try out traditional German foods, such as schnitzel. The city of Heidelberg was a unique experience in that it was safe, beautiful, and uniquely German, giving students a beautiful city to explore and enjoy.

All of the students who went on the trip would recommend students passionate about the sciences to apply for the program, saying that the opportunity provides many activities for students and chances to make great new friends from around the world. Western Reserve Academy sends students to the Heidelberg program yearly and the program is open to all rising seniors, though students with demonstrated passion and talent at science are encouraged to apply. Be sure to look out for information concerning this opportunity!

– Jasmine Wheeler ’20

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