Big Conversations with Small Groups

Author: Ayse Karaul Arslan

Bilsem (Science and Art Center) students meet scientists!
We are holding “Big Conversations with Small Groups” online meeting session throughout April. We hosted a guest every week and asked what we wondered. In total, 14 people (7 pupils, 6 professionals, and 1 teacher) joined this webinar series.

Our aim: to provide deep knowledge for gifted students of the issues we are curious about, to prevent special, talented children from staying away from science during Covid-19 and to meet STEM professionals and scientists.

Our guests


1st week:

Click here for our first conversation with Mr. Sinan Yirmibeşoğlu (Captain Research Assistant from ITU Faculty of Maritime) about global climate change from polar research perspective.

What did we talk about?

  • What is global warming?
  • What is the effect of the Coriolis force?
  • In which region is the ozone layer thinner?
  • What is the significance of Piri Reis’s map?
  • How do the oceans meet our need for oxygen?
  • How does plastic pollution affect oxygen production?
  • How does the difference of solar reflectors in different regions affect the climate?
  • What is the Albedo scale?
  • How does global warming affect transportation to Antarctica?
  • How did the Paris Agreement come about?

2nd week:

We asked our first guest in the second week Mrs Ayşegül F. Yelkenci (Doctor Lecturer from Istanbul Kultur University) our questions about asteroids and astronomy and more. Here is the video from our conversation.

  • What is the asteroid belt?
  • How are asteroids classified according to their structure?
  • What is the most important finding in space exploration?
  • How would gravity be in order for the atmosphere of an asteroid to form?
  • Are there any signals coming from the opposite side of the black holes?
  • How do quasars provide us with information about the formation of the universe?
  • Is it possible to travel in time when we travel around black holes faster than the speed of light?

In the second week, our second guest was Mr. Korhan F. Yelkenci (Doctor from Istanbul University), we asked questions about space research and we got our answers. Here is the video.

  • Should a student be interested in seeing space using a telescope? What kind of telescope should he take?
  • What kind of data do images in. fits format store?
  • Is there any evidence from the opposite side of the black holes?
  • What process do we need to follow to make the atmosphere of Mars habitable?
  • We know that with today’s technology we cannot go to another system. Why do we keep conducting space exploration?
  • Are astronomers naturalists? Are they engineers?
  • What kind of training process do astronomers go through?
  • We also want to read a chapter on astrophysics or physics. There is a perception that those interested in basic sciences are unemployed. Which university do you think should I go to study a chapter on basic sciences?
  • What is the longest-running space search? Were there astronauts who died in space?
  • How long have we been doing space research?
  • Betelgeuse will explode soon. Will Betelgeuse affect us if it explodes? If so, how does it affect?
  • What is the oldest planet in the solar system?

3rd Week:

With our first guest of the third week, Mrs Ezgi Taylan Koparan (Associate Professor Dr. from Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University), we wondered about many issues regarding superconductors and received our answers. Here is our video.

  • What is Superconductivity?
  • What is the start date of superconductivity research?
  • What is the effect of Meissner-Orchsenfeld?
  • What is the Microscopic Quantum Theory (BCS) of Superconductivity?
  • How do Maglev trains work?
  • What are the usage areas of superconductors?
  • What is the reason that the interaction of electrons moving in superconductors with each other is different from a normal conductor?
  • Has the process of determining the superconductivity of the elements in the periodic table proceeded by trial and error?
  • What is the importance of the boron mine for our country?

With our second guest in the third week Mr Timur Koparan (Associate Professor Dr. from Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University), we were curious about many matters related to the history of mathematics and received our answers. Here is our video.

  • What is math?
  • What are the periods in the history of mathematics?
  • What is Collatz conjecture?
  • Have there been pauses and slowdowns in the history of mathematics or have there always been developments at a certain pace?
  • What is the most important turning point in the history of mathematics?

4th Week:

In the fourth week, STEM Discovery Week, we organized a conversation with Mr Ümit Yavuzarslan (Senior Electrical and Electronics Engineer) and we asked questions about coding from electric vehicles and we got our answers. Here is our video.

  • How do electric vehicles work?
  • What is the driver?
  • What is the battery?
  • What is the structure of electrical devices?
  • What should we do first when electrical devices fail?
  • What is coding?
  • What is Arduino?
  • What have we done with Arduino before?
  • How to write an algorithm?
  • AC or DC?
  • Why did you choose electrical electronics engineering? Why did you choose a field other than mechanical or computer engineering?

Thanks to this series of web conferences, students had the opportunity to ask what they were wondering, to discover and question their interests, and to get information about the work areas of the experts. It was very meaningful to support future career planning.

These conversations are shared on our schools’ website.

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