Children's University events are free. They are for children ages 7 to 12. They are in German.
The lectures take place Tuesday afternoons during the summer semester at University locations and usually take about 45 minutes. Adults are not allowed, unless they are parents and are prepared to stand – because the seats are reserved for the children. University lecturers explain complex ideas and use every means available to show “why our hearts beat,” “why the stars don’t fall from the sky,” and “why a German shepherd is not a dachshund.” The lecturers are rewarded with thunderous applaus – and the feeling of having experienced a unique lecture.
The Children’s University Research Day takes place on a Saturday in early July; children can try a wide variety of experiments, from carving a Stone Age mammoth figure at the castle, to treating a “broken” arm at the hospitals, to gazing at the stars at the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The Children’s University was inaugurated in 2002 by University press spokesman Michael Seifert and the Schwäbisches Tagblatt newspaper. Along with the University of Innsbruck, they started up a completely new form of teaching in the German-speaking world. Universities saw the chance to get children interested in scientific analysis and research. Today there are more than 200 universities in Europe and around the world which run Children’s University programs. It’s estimated that more than one million children worldwide have attended Children’s University events.
In 2005, the Tübingen Children’s University received the European Commission’s Descartes Prize for Science Communication; and from 2008-2010, the EU funded the EU project, the European Children’s Universities Network, forging links between the Children’s Universities in Europe.