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The Department of physics promotes science and research interacting with the society. This work is conducted by informing and educating the public using mass media, by consulting national and local government bodies and by co-operating with enterprises. In this the Department strives to attain a mutually beneficial partnership and expects this interaction to promote its basic functions, i.e. research and education. By demonstrating what an exciting field of science physics is, the Department wishes to reach potential future students and researchers.

F2k Outreach Centre of the Department

Outreach activities within the Department are organized under F2k Outreach centre of the Department. This centre collects all activities related to outreach within the Department under one concept and makes the outreach work more organized and visible within the personnel and public. F2k Outreach centre was developed during 2010 and involves currently the following main activities: alumni outreach, F2k-laboratory as the contact with schools, PR activities including school visits, and other outreach activities such as contacts between personnel of the Department and public.

The staff of the Department is often asked to give interviews or contribute to national and international newspapers and magazines, on the radio or in TV programs. They are also invited to give public lectures at various occasions and venues at home and abroad. In addition, members of the personnel serve as experts on committees, on the governing bodies of learned societies and companies, and as consultants. A full list of these extracurricular activities is available in the Tuhat database.

Supplementary education

For several decades, the Department has arranged a supplementary course for teachers at upper and lower secondary schools and polytechnics. The course runs for one week, and the topic is different each time. In 2010, the theme of the course was “Particle physics – accelerators, experimental stations and theories”. The topic was timely due to start of the LHC experiments in CERN. The lecturers were mainly recruited from the Department’s own staff. Some 30 teachers attended the course, which enjoys a stable, nationwide popularity. The course fulfils the requirements laid down for supplementary education courses in the collective bargaining agreement on teachers’ salaries.

LUMA and F2k-laboratory

One of the main channels for contacts to schools is the national LUMA centre at the Kumpula campus. The centre promotes teaching in science, mathematics and computer science. LUMA activities within the Department are organized in F2k-laboratory, which was opened at December 14, 2010. Some 50 guests participated the opening enjoying presentations and demonstrations given by the members of the Department personnel. F2k-laboratory is a centre for physics education with the aim to support stimulating and motivating physics education at all levels of primary and secondary schools. In F2k-laboratory, visitors have a possibility to get introduced to physics of the new millennium. The demonstrations and laboratory experiments show how the fundamental studies of modern physics form the basis of today’s physics.

The main activities of the F2k-laboratory during 2010 included technology camps and club-evenings for children, maintaining of F2k www-site, and participation to LUMA e-journals. The Department extends invitations to physics teachers and their pupils for a visit. The program of a typical visit consists of information about the research and studies at the Department, combined with an excursion to one of the research laboratories. During 2010 about 30 groups and altogether about 500 pupils visited the Department. The Department takes an active interest in spreading knowledge about science to Swedish-speaking schools in Finland.

Alumni outreach

Contacts between the Department and alumni were intensified during 2010. The University of Helsinki platform for alumni (Alumnikampus) was activated at the Department as the main channel for future contacts and information distribution. All alumni were invited to register for the platform and by that one centralized database for the contact information was developed.

The Faculty of Science organized the first alumni afternoon during March 2010. The event became successful and attracted numerous alumni of the Department to visit the campus. The keynote lecture was given by Professor Markku Kulmala and was followed by visits to research laboratories of the Department.