Since 2004, selected scientists and special skilled staff of the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching tour around schools and kindergartens in the Munich region, teaching pupils the basics of fusion. But, first of all Dr. Elisabeth Wolfrum and her colleague Dr. Axel Kampke bring the kids down to earth. “How much energy would you say does the oven in your kitchen at home need? And how much energy would you guess do we all together use per year?”. The 13 to 14 year old boys and girls of a school in Garching, were primed by their teachers before the visit, and are quick to provide the right answer. A special chair game follows, giving the children a feeling for the extreme variation of energy consumption in different parts of the world.

After the game, it is time for serious matters: “Attention, now it is time for some physics! What do you know about atoms!”.

“The project is a big success”, Ute Schneider- Maxon, initiator of the “kidsbits”-program, says. More than 24 lessons have been taught so far, the 2006 tour is sold out and vacancies for next year are already rare.

Towards the end of the lesson, it is time for the kids to interrogate the scientists. “So, how exactly does the plasma get inside that thing called tokamak, that has a very similar shape to the new Munich football arena”, the kids asked, and “how much energy will ITER produce? And by the way – how much does a physicist earn?”