Some visitors travelled all the way from the Allgäu and arrived more than an hour before the actual start. At 8 o'clock, a lady from Munich was already standing at the registration desk in the physics department. All the places for guided tours through the research neutron source had already been booked by then. However, the lady hoped "that someone might have overslept". That is exactly what happened and the woman joined the first group at 9.15 a.m., beaming with joy. A five-person family from the Allgäu region willingly took on 1.5 hours of driving so that all three boys could take part in the children's tour of the Maustag. They were most pleased with "the lime icecream", which the FRM II scientists made fresh for the children's groups after experiments with liquid nitrogen.
515 visitors toured the neutron source
The trend in visitor numbers over the past few years continues: 399 adults and 122 children secured one of the highly sought-after places on the guided tours. Although the FRM II offered two extra guided tours than planned, the demand was still even higher.
This year the FRM II was the only institution to open its doors on the entire Garching campus. What could be more obvious than to combine this special day with the Germany-wide open day of the show with the mouse, which traditionally takes place on October 3rd? Already, the 2018 Mouse Day at FRM II had already been well received by children and parents.
From antimatter to conversion of the fuel element
The staff of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum and the Research Neutron Source had put a lot together for the accompanying programme: In lectures, the audience learned about the conversion of the fuel element, the medical applications at the FRM II and research from hydrogen to antimatter. Current films were shown in a second auditorium. Those who preferred to personally talk with our researchers were attracted by three information stands and various hands-on activities: Radiation protection presented measurements of radioactivity in everyday life and used a computer game to find the most skilled reactor driver. Dexterity in hitting atoms could be demonstrated at the neutron ball toss game and, with two rotating chopper disks, one could experience how difficult it is to filter out neutrons at a certain speed. The MLZ booth also offered a newly built Lego model of a three-axes spectrometer and a real neutron guide. Scientists from the TU Munich also explained what positrons, the antiparticles of electrons were at their stand.
On the way home, the children were given balloons filled with helium. In the end, the long journey had been worthwhile, even for the Allgäu family.