Petra Van Koppen
Petra Van Koppen is a lecturer and laboratory coordinator at the University of California Santa Barbara. She first did research on transition metal ion chemistry and its application, but then turned towards chemistry education and laboratory management. She organized outreach programs to help students in their educational career, to support teachers to develop curricula, and to inspire students—especially underrepresented and minority students—to pursue science and higher education. The programs encompass over a thousand local students and teachers doing trainings and giving lectures. Petra Van Koppen was named Mortar Board Professor of the Year and she received the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, the Math and Science Outreach Award, and the Margaret T. Getman Service to Students Award.
Christian Bertsch is professor of natural science didactics at the University College of Teacher Education Vienna. He works on various projects on learning by research in natural science education, develops and evaluates teaching material, and focuses on research on the professionalization of teachers in natural science education. He received several awards (IMST-Award, Wissenschaftspreis der Köck-Stiftung für kindgemäße Pädagogik, Education Award) and organizes various projects on the connection between science and schools.
Suzanne Kapelari is the Head of Science, Geography, Computer Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Innsbruck. There her research interests are learning concepts outside the classroom, garden learning, inquiry-based learning, and education for sustainable development. She is engaged in projects on various topics such as international cooperation on STEM education and inquiry-based learning, and responsible research and innovation in food security. She also served as the president of the Verein Österreichischer Biologiedidaktikerinnen und Biologiedidaktiker (VÖBD) and is currently president of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Fachdidaktik (ÖGFD).
Haim Harari is a physicist who made major contribution to the physics of the fundamental particles. He is Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of IST Austria. He was President of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel from 1988 to 2001, after joining the Institute in 1967, becoming an Associate Professor at the age of 26, the youngest ever, and a Full Professor three years later. In the field of education, Harari co-Founded "Perach", a national tutoring program for underprivileged children in Israel, currently involving 20,000 university students. He initiated and led the establishment of several unique educational Institutions, including the Davidson Institute of Science Education and the Hemda Science Center in Tel Aviv. His honors include membership in the Israel Academy of Sciences and in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Rothschild Prize in Physics, the Israel Prize in the Exact Sciences (and “Perach” won the Israel Prize for contribution to society), the "EMET" prize in Education, several honorary doctorates, the "Commander Cross of the Order of Merit" from the President of Germany, "Cross of Honor, Science and Art, First Class" from Austria, the Harnack Medal of the Max Planck Society and the Golden cross of honor for service to Lower Austria.
Georg Heilig studied social and cultural anthropology at the University of Vienna and since 2014 he is part of the IST Austria public outreach team. One of his core tasks is the management of events on science communication towards a broad public. This includes lectures, presentations, exhibitions, and process-oriented formats such as the Summer Campus – Kids Discover Research and research courses (‘How plants dance’).
Magdalena Steinrück studied biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, and at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. After obtaining a PhD in microbial genetics from IST Austria, she recently joined the institute’s outreach team. As a science communicator, she develops hands-on / minds-on science communication formats for children and other visitor groups. Magdalena currently operates under the hypothesis that this world ultimately needs just two things: evidence-based action, and mindfulness; and she seeks to promote and live up to both.
Barbora Trubenova is a postdoc at IST Austria, with Marie Sklodowska Curie fellowship. She is interested in mathematical modelling of biological processes, directing her research towards adaptability of organisms in a changing environment, hoping to assist conservation efforts. She is also deeply interested in education and founded a nation-wide competition in evolutionary biology for high school students in Slovakia.