Visit from Bjørnegård middle school –“Simuladagen”
Middle schoolers from Bjørnegård (Simula/Elin Backe Christophersen)

Visit from Bjørnegård middle school –“Simuladagen”


On the 23rd of October 2015, Simula had the opportunity to welcome 69 middle school students and three teachers from Bjørnegård to Simula. This is the second year we have organised “Simuladagen”, and it has turned out to be a success on both occasions.

What is "Simuladagen"?

“Simuladagen” serves as an introduction to the importance of research, the daily life of the researcher, and, briefly, to some of the research topics covered at Simula. The initiative is one of the efforts of the Prepare project that hopes to spark interest in research at an early age.

Simula has an ongoing collaboration with Bjørnegård in order to promote scientific interest. The collaboration started in 2014 after an initiative from Bærum municipality, and in addition to “Simuladagen”, we have organised programming courses at Bjørnegård, and mentors from Prepare visit the school every semester. Additionally, five students had a three day internship this spring at Simula.

“Simuladagen”: Programme summary

Prepare staff Karen-Helene Støverud and Freyja Jørgensen, and Simula School Advisor Elin Backe Christophersen, had a day with varied activity planned for the students. The day started with a talk from Section Director of Scientific Computing Are Magnus Bruaset, who is also a professor at the University of Oslo, where he told the story of why and how he became a scientist. After professor Bruaset’s talk, Prepare mentors Ane Haarr and Jonas van den Brink gave a talk on two research subjects, respectively chemical pollutants and astrophysics.

The students then split into different groups and visited five stations where Simula researchers presented their research topics. The students got the opportunity to put together their own video clips in a brand new Media app, try software that reconstruct the history of plate tectonics, and a hands-on introduction to internet communication in order to learn how the internet really works. The students participated in a cardiology quiz where they got to learn about different aspects of the heart, and look at examples of robot engineering. Additionally, they got to play a game that aims to spread knowledge of the HPV virus.

Before the students left they got their own Simula sweater, and they were on the whole very enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy being at Simula. We hope to have clarified what a researcher does, and inspired the fifteen year olds to curiosity and interest in research. We wanted the students to be aware of what options lie within the field of science, and to paraphrase Professor Bruaset’s closing words: A career may build on coincidences, but make sure that you take the opportunities that open up for you.