On Thursday, November 9, 2023, the CIBM Center for Biomedical Imaging at EPFL had the great pleasure of welcoming six schoolchildren aged 10 to 12 in the framework of the “Journée Oser tous les métiers” JOM day. The aim of this afternoon of discovery was to pass on the flame of science through small, fun experiments using imaging tools.

The doors of the CIBM opened at 1:30 p.m., and six intrigued faces made their appearance. The knowledge-hungry children were ready to discover the world of biomedical imaging: What technical tools are used? How do they work? Bringing science to life, rather than theorizing about it, to sow the seeds of curiosity overcomes all the stereotypes usually conveyed. In this way, our participants, both girls and boys, were able to see that the technical tools used to investigate nature and answer important questions about human beings were as accessible as they were fascinating.

These initiatives also enable researchers to communicate their knowledge. It’s a wonderful opportunity to practice the art of finding the simplest but most accurate words, which is essential training for today’s scientists.

Thanks to Thanh Phong Lê, the schoolchildren discovered the different sugars making up their candies using spectroscopy. Then, with the knowledge of Xinyu Liu and Solange Denervaud, they investigated the pineapple from every angle using a 7 Tesla MRI machine. Finally, Bernard Lanz and Jessie Mosso’s deep knowledge and expertise of the 14 Tesla diffusion MRI were shared to study the internal structure of a carrot.

The afternoon ended with a cheerful snack, and the amazed kids left, souvenir spectroscopy and magnetic resonance images under their arms, to share their understanding with their families and friends. We thank the JOM for launching these opportunities for community engagement and providing an opportunity to inspire young minds for their future.

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