ISC Course Descriptions

Anatomy

Dr. Joachim Rosenbusch, XLAB and Center for Anatomy, Medical School Goettingen

A brief theoretical introduction is followed by the dissection of porcine organ systems by the students. The course includes: heart and circulation, respiratory system, kidney and reproductive system, and in addition studies of the human brain.

Astrophysics

Dr. Philipp Huke, University of Goettingen

How to conduct your own Astrophysics experiment? Modern astrophysical experiments often require large telescopes situated at remote and exotic sites. In this intense week we will build up and conduct an astrophysical experiment including the XST (X-Lab-Solar-Telescope) and the XSS (X-Lab-Solar-Spectrograph) spectrograph from scratch. The students will be responsible for development of components, implementation of the system and to use it to investigate the physics of the sun.

XLAB also has direct access to a modern 50 cm and a solar telescope on campus with which the students will be able to work during the project.

Analytical Chemistry

Dr. Birgit Drabent, XLAB

As an introduction in food analysis, the students will investigate the most important food ingredients (carbon hydrates, proteins, and fats). Detection methods for the different components will be tested. Some characteristic properties of the food components will be analysed.

The experiments will be carried out by a great variety of experimental methods, ranging from simple detection reaction to quantitative techniques like the extraction of fat by means of a Soxhlet apparatus.

In the next project students will isolate a food compound and will have the chance to become acquainted with modern methods in analytical chemistry. In order to resolve the structure of this food compound the following analyses will be carried out: 

  • C,H,N analysis to solve the elemental formula
  • Determination of functional groups by specific detection reactions
  • Acid base titration and mass spectroscopy to determine the molecular mass
  • Oxidation by potassium permanganate and identification of the reaction products
  • NMR-spectroscopic investigation and interpretation of the 13C-spectrum

An X-Ray crystallographic analysis in order to solve the 3 dimensional structure may be carried out also. 

All experiments are accompanied by short lectures on the theoretical background of the various methods and by periods for analysis and interpretation of the results. 

The C,H,N analysis, the NMR-spectroscopy and the X-Ray crystallographic analysis were executed at the institute of Inorganic Chemistry, the mass spectroscopy at the institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry of the University Göttingen.

Knowledge in Organic Chemistry is required

Insights into cutting-edge research on renewable energies

Mona Maaß, Public outreach of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1073

The limitation of fossil fuels like mineral oil or natural gas, the climate change caused by greenhouse gas emission and the fine dust pollution associated with health risks for human beings require an energy revolution. For this reason, the EU targets a use of 32 % energy from renewable energy by 2030. The Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1073 contributes to this purpose, as its long-term goal is to develop tactics to increase the efficiency of the environmentally friendly generation and storage of electrical energy. In the CRC, physicists and chemists mainly from the University of Göttingen and the Clausthal University of Technology work together in three different project groups. All groups aim to fundamentally understand and control the elementary steps of energy conversion in materials. Group A focuses on energy losses, group B on energy conversion of optical excitations and group C on energy storage.

In the science camp course, students will gain an insight into all three CRC project groups and work with different highly advanced microscopes of the CRC which are capable of resolving atoms. On the first day, they measure friction with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and thereby learn how an AFM works and how friction losses can be controlled. On the next days, students are introduced to the broad concept of using hydrogen to store energy. Meanwhile, they perform measurements with electron microscopes and a field emission microscope. On the last day, students prepare posters about their favorite CRC research field and present them in an analogous manner to scientists at conferences.

Freshwater Ecology

Dr. Dirk Gries, XLAB

In this course students learn about the ecology of aquatic organisms and fundamentals of aquatic ecosystems (e.g. abiotic factors of the physical and chemical environment, biotic interactions, food webs, trophic relationships, element and energy fluxes), take field trips to streams and lakes, assess hydro-morphological features of streams and floodplains, survey vegetation zonation, collect and identify animals, algae, and higher plants, measure chemical and physical parameters in the field and at XLAB, and rate ecological statuses of lakes and streams by using structural, biological and physico-chemical indices. 

Inorganic Chemistry

Dr. Barbara Ritter, XLAB

While synthesis and analysis are the two poles of chemistry, this course focuses on the analysis, especially on the analysis of inorganic ions. 

There are many specific tests for a variety of ions, most of them applied in the fields of health, environment, or chemical evaluation – just think of heavy metal pollution of drinking water or iron content of ore! In many cases though, the work of a chemist starts before the actual testing: A sample has to be prepared, dissolved, and the ions have to be precipitated in a defined order without losing or influencing other substances of potential interest. To this end, the students will learn how to thoroughly plan and prepare their experiments before finally conducting them with the help of different basic and advanced methods of separation and detection.

In cooperation with the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Göttingen the students will also learn about a modern, highly sensible detection method for different elements, the atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS).

Laser Physics

Dr. Christina Lumme, Dr. Carsten Nowak, XLAB

Lasers play an important role in our everyday life – they can be found in many applications around us!

The first task of this course is to learn how a laser works. Using an optical pumped Nd:YAG-laser kit we will adjust several optical devices to get the general laser-setup lined up. Furthermore we will determine the wavelength and the mean lifetime of upper laser level. With a KTP crystal we will demonstrate frequency doubling as a special nonlinear effect and demonstrate transversal electromagnetic modes. For comparison similar experiments are carried out using a He-Ne-laser system.

As a special application we will record and reconstruct holograms learning about object beam and reference beam, real und virtual image. Other applications investigated are e.g. the Michelson interferometer and the recording unit of CD-players.

Different properties and uses of laser are investigated on the research campus Göttingen. We will participate in a guided tour through the Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen, the laboratories of the Group of Prof. Ropers at IV. Physical Institute of Georg August Universität Göttingen and the Group of Prof. Koch at the University of Applied Sciences (HAWK) to learn about their special fields of interest.

Molecular Medicine

Dr. Kristina Wiege, XLAB

Molecular medicine is a broad field in which biochemical, bioinformatic and medical techniques are used to i. characterise molecular structures and mechanisms, ii. to identify basic molecular and genetic defects of diseases and iii. to develop molecular therapies to correct them.

This week's focus is on the immune system and its basic functions, as it is the main player in the campaign against disease and thus plays a major role in the development of new therapies.

Participants will perform common laboratory techniques in the field of molecular medicine and clinical diagnostics, such as 

  • Peripheral blood smear
  • Blood typing
  • Western blotting
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
  • Fluorescent activated cell sorting
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Mammalian cell culture
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • CRISPR Cas9

Besides, participants will have the opportunity to gain insight into bioinformatic online databases and in silico DNA sequence analysis.

Neurophysiology

Dr. Barbara Ritter, Dr. Michael Ferber, XLAB

Information processing in the nervous system is based on electrochemical processes in the nerve cells. In this course we investigate the ionic basis of the resting membrane potential as well as the mechanisms underlying the generation of graded potentials and action potentials. The students learn to record these neuronal functions intracellular using sharp electrodes.  

Animals use sense organs in order to receive information about their environment. In our course we study several functional aspects of the visual system of vertebrates (humans) and insects (locusts) by means of extracellular recording of field potentials (ERG) and perception experiments. 

How are sensory stimuli further processed in the central nervous system? This question will be adressed by means of extracellular recordings from the central nervous system. We will investigate whether resonses to light stimuli recorded from the ocust's eye have an equivalent in the central nervous system. The reaction of the migratory locust to moving objects is also investigated. For this purpose, the activity of an identified interneuron is recorded extracellularly.

The practical part of the course may be supplemented by scientific talks and a visit in a research laboratory. The course is made possible in cooperation with the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine (supply of oocytes), the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry (set up material) and the excellence cluster Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB).

Plant Ecophysiology

Dr. Dirk Gries, XLAB

Plants can’t just pick up their roots and walk away from trouble; they have to cope with the prevailing conditions, and must constantly adapt to widely changing light intensity, temperature, water supply and soil nutrient availability.

We will explore responses of physiological processes such as photosynthesis, light protection, growth, and water relations to variable environmental conditions in different plant species and types. Our study sites include tall forests, a greenhouse, a growth chamber and laboratories.

DG has taught at XLAB since 2007. He conducted research at Göttingen University and at UC Riverside/CA and taught graduate level plant ecophysiology at Göttingen University. 

Ionizing Radiation in Life Sciences

Dr. Carsten Nowak, XLAB

In this interdisciplinary course, we use the physical properties of ionizing radiation to address scientific questions in biology and medicine like:

  • Where does growth in a living plant occur?
  • What is the reaction rate for photosynthesis under specific conditions?
  • How can we distinguish a tumor from other types of human tissue?
  • Can we destroy a tumor without effecting the adjacent tissue?

In the experiments, we will utilize ionizing radiation generated from radionuclides and from X-ray machines. Initially, we will investigate physical characteristics of radionuclides like half-life and type of emitted radiation. Regarding the interaction of ionizing radiation with matter, we will quantitatively determine shielding behavior, range and the working principle of different detection systems. To quantify the impact of ionizing radiation on biological systems, we will determine dose rates, particularly for X-rays.

Knowing these properties, we will use radionuclides to localize metabolic processes and quantify photosynthesis reaction rates in poplar plants. Additionally, we will get an insight into the application of X-rays in clinical radiology.

This course is offered in cooperation with the Laboratory for Radioisotopes of Göttingen University and the Department of Therapeutic Radiology of the University Medical Center Göttingen.