Laser labyrinth draws crowds – Science meets fun at tunBasel


The outreach team and other SNI members started the year with a busy few months, taking part in numerous events aimed at students. One of the highlights was tunBasel, which took place from 8 to 17 February, 2019, as part of the recent Mustermesse Basel trade fair.

Four partners
The joint stand at tunBasel, shared by the SNI, the Department of Physics, the Department of Chemistry and CSEM Muttenz was visited by a steady stream of children and young people. The main attraction was the laser labyrinth, put together a few years ago by the electronics lab of the Department of Physics at the suggestion of SNI outreach manager Dr. Kerstin Beyer-Hans. 

In addition to the labyrinth, for the first five days of the event the Department of Chemistry set up a fluorescence room – an illuminating experience making use of various chemical fluorescence reactions. 

For the second half of tunBasel, the stand was taken over by the SNI and CSEM Muttenz. Visitors of all ages had a chance to build their own spectrometer, and marvel at chocolate laced with nanostructures that made it shimmer in rainbow hues. 

Well worth the wait
Throughout the tunBasel event, the laser labyrinth attracted thousands of youngsters who were quite happy to stand in line for up to 30 minutes waiting for their turn to weave their way through the laser beams crisscrossing the dark passageway. The smallest and most nimble visitors were at a clear advantage, giving them the best chance of successfully negotiating the fifteen obstacles without touching the laser beams. 


“A huge thank you to all the nanoscience students and SNI doctoral students who made this fantastic effort possible.

According to the organizers, this year’s event was attended by half of all elementary school classes in the Cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, and the SNI and its helpers spent over 200 hours at the highly popular stand over the course of five days.”

Dr. Michèle Wegmann, SNI outreach managerin