Magic Spells and Desert Sharks

Spells and shark skeletons in the lectures, kidney function and optical illusion
Spells and shark skeletons in the lectures, kidney function and optical illusions in the workshops: The Children's University of Zurich offers a broad spectrum of topics. (Image: Kinder-UZH, Ursula Meisser)
Can you make things happen with words only? How did a shark end up in the desert? Can 10-year-olds go to prison? And why can airplanes fly? The varied new program of the Children’s University begins in the Fall Semester 2019.

Magic spells have a long and rich history. They illustrate the idea of making things happen by using nothing more than words. How we do things with words in our everyday lives - without spells or magic wands - is the focus of the Children’s University lecture held by Heiko Hausendorf, professor of German language and literature.

Sharks in the desert? Kids in prison?

Has there ever been a shark as big as a bus’ Yes, there has, as paleontologist Christian Klug will demonstrate. He has dug out shark skeletons in the desert and can provide insights on these fascinating finds.

Law professor and Vice President Christian Schwarzenegger will explore the question of whether even 10-year-olds can end up in prison. What happens when children break the law in Switzerland? From what age will they be punished? In Colorado in the US, for example, children as young as 10 can already be treated and prosecuted as adults.

And a question that all of us have probably asked ourselves will be answered by pilot Beat Brändle, who flies for Swiss: How can such heavy machines as airplanes take off and stay up in the air?

Lectures and workshops

The lecture series on these four topics takes place on Wednesday afternoons. In addition, there are eight workshops to choose from. The workshops take a deeper look at specific topics, which include how the kidneys work, how optical illusions fool us, the chemistry of light and color, and how electricity is generated.

The events are free and aimed at children from third to sixth grade. Participation is open to all irrespective of school performance.

Fall Semester 2019 Program

The registration form for the lecture series can be downloaded from the Children’s University website from 30 August 2019.

Registration for the workshops is open from 30 August to 9 September 2019.

To find out more information and to register please go to: