Flame-Throwing Ogres and Cyclopes in the Lecture Hall

Monsters in the middle ages, fish with sunburn, optical illusions, and advertising tricks: The fun-packed new program of the Children’s University begins this spring.

A terrible fantasy creature from the middle ages – now known as a monster. (Illustration: Katharina Blansjaar, ©Kinder-Universität Zürich)

The Children’s University of Zurich is very popular. Each semester around 700 primary school pupils from 3rd to 6th grades flock to UZH brimming with curiosity and burning questions. Their questions are intelligent ones, which are of concern not just to the children, but also in academic research.

Getting to grips with monsters

Next semester, a series of four lectures will look at a variety of different questions. The first lecture will deal with monsters in the middle ages. Here, the young scholars will find out why source texts from the middle ages describe dragons, wild women, and flame-throwing creatures, as well as beings that look similar to humans but are deformed and have only one eye or missing, superfluous, or twisted limbs – in short, creatures that we today call monsters.

The second lecture is concerned with a question in the field of biology: Can fish get sunburn? Optical illusions are the focus of the third lecture, while the final one in the series takes a closer look at advertising:  Why does it exist, what do advertisers want, and how do they specifically target children and young people?

How film and music go together

Alongside the lecture series, eight workshops are on offer that look into different subjects in more depth, such as how film and music go together, how to find hidden treasures in a library, how we can observe the world from space, what air vortex cannons and Magnus gliders are, and how to write secret code with the help of mathematics.

The events are free and are aimed at children from 3rd to 6th grade.  Participation is open to all irrespective of school performance.


Spring Semester 2018 Program

The application form for the lecture series can be downloaded from the Children’s University website from 11 January 2018.

Registration for the workshops is possible from 11 to 20 January 2018. Please note: Each individual workshop must be registered for separately.

For more information and to register please go to: