With the beginning of the school year, the University of West Bohemia offers a wide range of lectures and excursions to those students from Pilsen and Carlsbad Region, who have participated in regional or national science Olympics in the past few years. This time, we had an opportunity to explore Liberec Region from biological, chemical and physical point of view.

On Wednesday at 8 am, September 13, 2017, 28 of us and 5 of our professors settled in a bus and headed to Liberec. Our first stop was at IQ-Landia Liberec Science Center, where we spent the rest of the day. We got to explore all 5 floors full of various exhibitions from all fields and tried some experiments. Then we moved to the Planetarium, where we have learnt about the creation of the universe and the stars in it. Next, we went to TULab, where we were shown some cool chemical maybe little explosive experiments and later, we got to try some of them. We also got our hands on a superconductor cooled with liquid nitrogen.

After a short walk in the nature with biological commentary by RNDr. Mgr. Chocholoušková about typical and rare plant species of the area, we arrived to Jarmilka - wellness pension where we were accommodated. After dinner, RNDr. Randa taught us something about Tunguska event and Chicxulub Crater.

The next morning we headed to state enterprise DIAMO based in Stráž pod Ralskem, named after Ammonium Diuranate (NH4)2U2O7 also known as Yellowcake, the final product of underground leaching of uranium. Here, we were enlightened to the history of local uranium mining and current redevelopment of the area and former mines.

After lunch, we visited Liberec Zoo, the oldest zoo in the Czech Republic. It was raining the whole afternoon, but the good thing about it was having the entire place for ourselves. We saw beautiful white Bengal tigers and sea lions. Unfortunately, there was no time left to visit local Botanic Garden. Luckily, Mrs Chocholoušková made it up to us with an evening full of pictures of plants she took throughout the last two days.

On the final day of our excursion, we visited enterprise PRECIOSA - LUSTRY based in Kamenický Šenov. Here, we were introduced to local glass production. We saw different parts of the factory, where everything is done with precision and care. All chandeliers are one by one customized for each client and adjusted to the space where they’ll be. It depends on difficulty, but usually one chandelier takes at least 6 months to make. Among the clients are casinos and hotels like Four Seasons all around the world from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi.

The last stop of our trip was National Natural Monument Panská Skála and Sloup, a medieval rock castle.

Loaded with lots of information and knowledge, we departed around 4 pm and made our way back to Pilsen.

Overall, this was a very enriching and fun experience for me and I would definitely like to participate in other project and trips that the University has to offer.

Lenka Nguyenová Xuanová, oktáva A