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Commissione europea

Comunicato stampa

Varsavia, 23 settembre 2014

Scelti a Varsavia i giovani scienziati più brillanti d'Europa

Finalmente è terminata l'attesa. La settimana scorsa la biblioteca dell'Università di Varsavia si è riempita di giovani e promettenti scienziati. Centodieci ricercatori tra i 14 e i 20 anni hanno illustrato i loro progetti nel corso di un'animata competizione, nella quale hanno cercato di imporsi all'attenzione della giuria internazionale. La XXVI edizione del concorso EUCYS dell'Unione europea per giovani scienziati cui essi hanno partecipato si è conclusa oggi con la premiazione. Oltre a potersi annoverare tra i migliori giovani scienziati d'Europa i vincitori si sono divisi premi in denaro per un totale di 62 500 euro e altri premi ambiti, tra cui la partecipazione ad eventi scientifici (MEMO/14/536).

I primi tre premi di 7000 euro ciascuno sono stati assegnati a João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo (Portogallo) per il progetto "A natural characterization of semilattices of rectangular bands and groups of exponent two", a Mariana De Pinho Garcia e Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva (Portogallo) per il progetto "Smart snails" e a Luboš Vozdecký (Repubblica ceca) per il progetto "Rolling friction". Quest'anno i secondi premi sono andati a progetti originali provenienti dall'Irlanda, dalla Bulgaria e dalla Slovenia nei settori della matematica e della chimica. I tre terzi premi sono andati a progetti dalla Lituania, dal Regno Unito e dalla Germania.

Il concorso prevedeva anche un premio alla cooperazione internazionale per il miglior progetto di un'équipe proveniente dai paesi ospiti: USA, Canada, Cina, Nuova Zelanda, Corea del Sud e Svizzera. Il premio, che evidenzia i vantaggi della cooperazione nella ricerca scientifica a livello internazionale, è stato vinto da Eric Giles Schertenleib (Svizzera) per il progetto "Jet and Film – On the interaction between a laminar jet and a soap film".

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissaria europea per la Ricerca, l'innovazione e la scienza, ha dichiarato: "La qualità dei candidati che si presentano a questo concorso non cessa di stupirmi, le mie congratulazioni a tutti i partecipanti. La ricerca e l'innovazione scaturiscono dalla varietà delle idee, perciò dobbiamo permettere ai giovani di essere liberi di sviluppare le proprie idee e di creare. Dobbiamo inoltre impegnarci più a fondo per una maggiore presenza delle donne in campo scientifico e tecnologico. Queste sono le vere sfide che i nostri sistemi educativi devono affrontare".

Alla competizione di Varsavia hanno partecipato 77 progetti provenienti da 36 paesi, tra cui Stati membri dell'UE, altri Stati associati e paesi del resto del mondo. Tutti i candidati avevano già vinto il primo premio nei rispettivi concorsi scientifici nazionali nel proprio campo. I temi dei progetti abbracciavano un'ampia gamma di settori: biologia, fisica, chimica, informatica, scienze sociali, ambiente, matematica, scienze dei materiali, ingegneria e medicina. Quest'anno la giuria era presieduta da Henrik Aronsson, professore dell'Università di Gotheborg ed era composta da 18 scienziati di livello internazionale impegnati in diversi settori.

Contesto

Il concorso dell'Unione europea per giovani scienziati è stato istituito dalla Commissione europea nel 1989 per incoraggiare la cooperazione e lo scambio tra giovani scienziati e offrire loro la possibilità di incontrare ricercatori europei di chiara fama. Alla prima edizione di Bruxelles sono seguite 24 edizioni in diverse città europee.

Il concorso sostiene gli sforzi realizzati dai paesi partecipanti per suscitare interesse verso lo studio di materie scientifiche (scienze, tecnologia, ingegneria, matematica) e invogliare i giovani a intraprendere una carriera in questi settori. Il numero dei partecipanti è cresciuto nel tempo, passando da 59 della prima edizione del 1989 a 110 del 2014, con un picco di 137 partecipanti per l'edizione di Parigi del 2009. I vincitori dei precedenti concorsi hanno intrapreso carriere prestigiose nel campo della ricerca, ad esempio presso l'Agenzia spaziale europea e il CERN. Uno dei vincitori della medaglia Fields di quest'anno, il prof. Martin Hairer, aveva vinto un premio nel concorso del 1991.

La scarsa presenza di donne riflette la problematica più ampia della sottorappresentazione femminile in ambito scientifico, tecnologico, ingegneristico e matematico. Quest'anno le donne erano il 37% dei candidati (41 candidate contro 69 candidati). La partecipazione femminile ha superato per la prima volta la soglia del 30% nel 1997 e da allora si è assestata generalmente fra il 30% e il 35%, con un picco del 41% nel 2005. In questi 26 anni le vincitrici dei premi sono state 183, mentre i vincitori sono stati 614.

Informazioni complete sul concorso di quest'anno sono disponibili alla pagina: http://media.eucys2014.pl. Le tre équipe qualificatesi prime si sono aggiudicate un premio in denaro di 7000 euro ciascuna, le tre qualificatesi seconde un premio di 5 000 euro e le tre qualificatesi terze un premio di 3 500 euro. Gli altri premi comprendevano viaggi per partecipare al Forum scientifico internazionale per i giovani di Londra e al Seminario scientifico internazionale per i giovani di Stoccolma, premi finanziati da grandi aziende, tra cui viaggi per partecipare all'Intel ISEF negli USA, e dal servizio scientifico interno della Commissione europea, dal Centro comune di ricerca, dal gruppo di organismi di ricerca peneuropei EIROforum e dall'Ufficio europeo dei brevetti.

Approfondimenti sul concorso e sui precedenti vincitori alla pagina:
http://ec.europa.eu/research/youngscientists/index_en.cfm

Contatti:

Michael Jennings (+32 2 296 33 88) Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Monika Wcislo (+32 2 295 56 04)

ANNEX 1

Prize-winners

26th European Union Contest for Young Scientists

  1. CORE PRIZES

Three first prizes (€7 000 per project)

Country: Portugal

Contestant: João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo (16)

Field: Mathematics

Project title: A natural characterization of semilattices of rectangular bands and groups of exponent two

Abstract: In a recent paper, R. A. R. Monzo characterized semilattices of rectangular bands and groups of exponent 2. However, his characterization does not point directly to the properties of rectangular bands and groups of exponent 2 (namely, idempotency and commutativity). My work consisted in proving a natural characterization of this type of semillatice.

Country: Portugal

Contestants: Mariana De Pinho Garcia (16) and Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva (16)

Field: Biology

Project title: Smart Snails

Abstract: The development of a chronic mollusc toxicity test is currently a work item on the agenda of the OECD. We report the improvement and standardization of a toxicity bioassay using eggs of the great pond water snail Lymnaea stagnalis L., which have a biological indicator of water pollutants. We optimized both isolation and synchronization methods to reduce variability, and identified sensitive developmental stages and parameters to assess the putative toxicological effects (i.e. heartbeat, period of development, hatching success, mortality and movement). Our work is an invaluable advancement to develop a reliable, fast and inexpensive environmental embryo toxicity test for molluscan species.

Country: Czech Republic

Contestant: Luboš Vozdecký (19)

Field: Physics

Project title: Rolling Friction

Abstract: There are many theories in books or on the Internet, each of which describes rolling friction in a different way. The basic idea that is used in almost all theories is that the deformations of underlay cause a force which we observe as rolling friction. Some theories claim that there is a bulge formed in front of the rolling body and this bulge is supposed to cause rolling friction. Although there are no experiments that would either confirm or disprove the theory, this theory seems to be generally accepted. The aim of this work is to design and do an experiment that would capture the deformations of an underlay under a rolling body and that would afterwards either confirm or disprove the theories described above. Another aim of this work is to introduce a theory that would describe the origin of rolling friction and that would correspond to the performed experiments.

Three second prizes (€5 000 per project)

Country: Ireland

Contestant: Paul Clarke (17)

Field: Mathematics

Project title: Contributions to cyclic graph theory

Abstract: Graph theory is an area of pure mathematics which studies properties of linkages and networks. It has applications in several areas including computing, molecular structure, neuroscience, search engines, engineering etc. This project makes a profound contribution to the study of graphs. It identifies key concepts and provides the methodology to apply them to some long-standing major problems in the subject with great success.

Country: Bulgaria

Contestant: Petar Milkov Gaydarov (17)

Field: Mathematics

Project title: Hamming Distance of Polynomials over GF(2)

Abstract: In the project we examine an issue linked to the conjecture of Gilbert

Lee, Frank Ruskey and Aaron Williams concerning irreducible polynomials over GF(2). This issue is interesting because it examines random sets of polynomials close to the set of irreducible polynomials. Their conjecture states that the Hamming distance of every polynomial over GF(2) and its closest irreducible is at most c: The purpose of the present research is to find the mathematical expectation for a given polynomial to have a certain small Hamming distance from this uniformly chosen at random set. This may help us check which properties of the set of irreducible polynomials may lead to the proof of the conjecture.

Country: Slovenia

Contestant: Aleš Zupančič (18)

Field: Chemistry

Project title: Self-cleaning fabrics based on nanocovers

Abstract: The aim of our research was to develop a nanocoated fabric with a variety of nanoparticles which would have the highest level of the self-cleaning effect and would be environment- and people-friendly. For studying we used lyocell fibres, which were processed in different ethanol suspensions of nanoparticles. We investigated the photocatalysis of TiO2, ZnO, and Fe2O3 nanoparticles. By measuring the absorption spectrum, we determined the optimal ratio between the individual nanoparticles for the highest absorption in visible range. We carried out a test of the self-cleaning effect. We examined how many of the nanoparticles had been released into the environment during the shaking of the fabric in water, and whether the nanoparticles that had been released during the reaction in water were toxic for various aquatic organisms: crustacean Daphnia magna, marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri, and tropical fish Danio rerio. The results show that the tested method can be used for preparing effective coatings that are highly homogeneous and cover the fibre completely.

Three third prizes (€3 500 per project)

Country: Lithuania

Contestant: Matas Navickas (17)

Field: Biology

Project title: Flowering Apple Tree “Malus baccata x Malus prunifolia” in vitro

Abstract: The main idea of my research is to develop a miniature flowering apple tree ”Malus baccata x Malus prunifolia“ by growing it in a test tube. This sort of apple tree grows up to 7 m in height, blossoms red flowers, and grows apples of about 1 cm in size. In my test tubes, though, it is only 5 cm in height; moreover, after flowering it could be transferred and grown in pots. Lots of experiments on selecting plant hormones, testing medium for growing and propagating the tree, and flowering initiation were performed. Genetic analysis in order to find a flowering initiation gene was carried out as well. The developed flowering technology enables people to grow this mini-tree easily and widely, and could also be useful for scientists working on shortening the juvenile period of plants – the time until the first flowering.

Country: United Kingdom

Contestants: Ameeta Kumar (18) and Aneeta Kumar (18)

Field: Medicine

Project title: pHLIP? Beacon of hope

Abstract: Over 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year worldwide. It is also the cause of over 8 million deaths globally every year. With early diagnosis and initiation of treatment, the mortality and morbidity rate could be reduced. We investigated the effectiveness of novel pH Low Insertion Peptide (pHLIP) in imaging cancers, by utilising the low extracellular pH environment found around cancer cells. This was studied by growing 3D spheroids as models for tumours and incubating them with pHLIP. The spheroids were then imaged using confocal microscopy. We believe pHLIP imaging could be developed into a powerful tool in the fight against cancer.

Country: Germany

Contestants: Anselm Bernhard Peter Dewald (19), Philipp Mandler (18) and Robin Braun (18)

Field: Engineering

Project title: Hexapod - Construction and Programming of a six-legged exploration robot

Abstract: Exploration robots can explore collapsed buildings and send real-time images from inside – an important tool for emergency services in disaster areas. Specifically for this purpose, Philipp Mandler, Anselm Dewald and Robin Braun developed and programmed a six-legged walking robot that can be controlled via smartphone. "Hexapod" is more agile and more compact than comparable systems. The mobility talent masters even steps on a staircase and narrow access points. And if Hexapod should lose one of its legs during a deployment, it will continue to move safely even on unknown terrain.

The international cooperation prize (€5 000 per project)

Country: Switzerland

Contestant: Eric Giles Schertenleib (20)

Field: Physics

Project title: Jet and Film – On the interaction between a laminar jet and a soap film

Abstract: This project explains the physics behind the interaction of a thin liquid jet with a soap film. Three different shapes were observed: absorption, refraction and a critical regime. The work was compared to a previous study and shortcomings were identified. The project is both theoritical and experimental.

  1. HONORARY AWARDS

Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar 2014
Selected winners attend the 2014 Nobel Prize ceremonies, meet the Nobel Laureates and take part in a series of other scientific/cultural activities during the week.

Country: Switzerland

Contestant: Eric Giles Schertenleib (20)

Field: Physics

Project title: Jet and Film – On the interaction between a laminar jet and a soap film

Country: Czech Republic

Contestant: Luboš Vozdecký (19)

Field: Physics

Project title: Rolling Friction

Country: Bulgaria

Contestant: Petar Milkov Gaydarov (17)

Field: Mathematics

Project title: Hamming Distance of Polynomials over GF(2)

London International Youth Science Forum 2015
Selected winners meet young scientists from around the world and take part in the annual two-week intensive summer science festival during July-August 2015.

Country: Portugal

Contestant: João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo (16)

Field: Mathematics

Project title: A natural characterization of semilattices of rectangular bands and groups of exponent two

Country: Portugal

Contestants: Mariana De Pinho Garcia (16) and Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva (16)

Field: Biology

Project title: Smart Snails

  1. SPECIAL DONATED PRIZES

There are 30 special donated prizes:

  1. JRC (Joint Research Centre): The European Commission’s internal science service

  2. a five-day visit of a technical and cultural nature to the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany

  • a one-week stay at each of the eight members of EIROforum

  • CERN - The European Laboratory for Particle Physics

  • EUROFusion - JET

  • EMBL - The European Molecular Biology Laboratory

  • ESO - The European Southern Observatory

  • ESA - The European Space Agency

  • ESRF - The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

  • ILL - The Institute Laue-Langevin

  • XFEL - the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility

  1. Intel ISEF 2013 Prizes

  2. EuCheMS

  3. Wolfram

JRC - Joint Research Centre

3 prizes: one week stays at the JRC’s Institutes in Ispra, Italy

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Germany

Adrian Huck

Daniel Heid

Rafael Dieter Quadbeck

19

19

17

Biology

Thiothrix sp. – Investigation of sulfur oxidizing bacteria for the sensor-controlled desulfurization of biogas

Estonia

Tatjana Punger

19

Medicine

Characterization of Virus-Like Particles Pseudotyped with Influenza Virus Antigens

Poland

Monika Barbara Leończyk

18

Biology

The huge importance of small insects - research about bumblebees

EPO - The European Patent Office
3 prizes: five-day visits of a technical and cultural nature to the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Turkey

Güner Ali Yenal

16

Biology

Alternative Chemotherapeutic Agents: Artemisia dracunculus and Hibiscus sabdariffa’s Antitumor Effects on Breast Cancer

Italy

Federico Buttò

Maddalena Bucchi

Maria Veronica Di Lenardo

20

19

19

Environment

Herbicides and secondary metabolites: a new protocol for their identification and disposal

Lithuania

Monika Orlovaite

Violeta Kalasinskaite

18

18

Environment

Natural Implements to Control Bee Mite Infestation

EIROFORUM PRIZES

  1. CERN - The European Laboratory for Particle Physics

One week stay in Geneva, Switzerland

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Ireland

Paul Clarke

17

Mathematics

Contributions to cyclic graph theory

  1. EUROFusion - JET

One week stay at Culham, United Kingdom

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Bulgaria

Grigori Dobri Matein

18

Physics

Analyzing the Sound Produced by Heated Water Solutions with Different Concentrations

  1. EMBL - The European Molecular Biology Laboratory

One week in Heidelberg, Germany

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Slovakia

Lukáš Jánošík

18

Biology

Effect of deletion of Mhb1 protein gene on cellular response and replicative aging in yeast Yarrowia lipolytica

  1. ESO - The European Southern Observatory

Visit to ESO site in Chile

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Spain

Sergio Hernandez Cuenca

19

Physics

Astronomical Model. Development and programming of new algorithms of Positional Astronomy

  1. ESA - The European Space Agency

Participate at a major European space science conference under the sponsorship of the European Space Agency, including coverage of their travel and accommodation costs.

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Norway

Sander Sebastian Henschien Coates

19

Physics

Investigating "pumping",
a technique applied in skateboarding quarter pipes

  1. ESRF - The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

One week stay in Grenoble, France

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Hungary

Szabolcs Rozsnyik

18

Chemistry

Research of Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes Composites’ photochemical properties

  1. ILL - The Institute Laue-Langevin

One week stay in Grenoble, France

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Slovenia

Aleš Zupančič

18

Chemistry

Self-cleaning fabrics based on nanocovers

  1. XFEL - the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility

One week stay in Hamburg, Germany

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Slovakia

Jakub Šalko

18

Physics

Observation and Modeling of Planetary Nebulae Spectra

Intel ISEF 2014 Prizes

3 prizes: participate at Intel ISEF in May 2015, Pittsburgh (PA), USA

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Bulgaria

Marin Blagoev Shalamanov

Vasil Georgiev Vasilev

17

18

Computing

Genetic Algorithms for Foreign Exchange Trading

Czech Republic

Vojtěch Boček

19

Computing

LORRIS TOOLBOX - Microprocessor Application Development Kit

Poland

Jerzy Krzysztof Szuniewicz

17

Physics

Optimizing the Process of Single Photons Coupling into Single-Mode Fibers by Using a Genetic Algorithm and Spatial Light Modulation

EuCheMS special donated prize for chemistry

€1 000

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

New Zealand

Thomas Andrew Morgan

19

Chemistry

The effect of UV light on vitamin D2 concentration in oyster mushrooms

WOLFRAM

Wolfram Research

All Mathematics students are awarded a free one year Mathematica Student Edition license + free one-year subscription to WolframAlpha Pro

  1. HOST ORGANISER SPECIAL DONATED PRIZES

University of Warsaw

5 prizes: Internships in the faculties of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics, Biology and Chemistry

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Italy

Antonio Pio Di Virgilio

Domenico Parigino

Francesco Antonio Tucci

20

18

20

Medicine

A new method for the diagnosis of Enterobius vermicularis infestation

Turkey

Emre Girgin

Osman Akar

17

18

Mathematics

On a New Class of Triangle Centers and Their Pedal Triangle

Finland

Maura Kere

18

Medicine

How do varying concentrations of caffeine affect the expression of the selected genes ATM, CYP1A2, ADORA2A, DRD2, NRCAM, and COMT in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y?

Czech Republic

Emil Skříšovský

19

Mathematics

The Simson-Wallace Theorem and Its Generalizations in the Plane and Space

Austria

Dominik Heinz Dörler

Hanna Franziska Weiss

Simon Moll

19

18

18

Chemistry

Development of a procedure for recovering phosphorus from sewage sludge ash and development of a low-cost rapid measuring instrument for the quantification of phosphorus

PZU Foundation Prizes

2 prizes of €2 500

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

USA

Faye Jong Sow Fei

15

Environment

Bio-Waste Materials as Eco-Friendly Mordant in Fabric Dye Process

Canada

Daniel Malcolm McInnis

16

Engineering

Picture This!: A Novel Approach to Limb Donor Identification & Prosthetic Design

Ministry of Science and Higher Education Prizes

2 prizes of €2 500

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Switzerland

Camill Eric Oberhausser

20

Social sciences

Moral Attitudes – Differences between Women and Men

South Korea

Jiyoon Kim

17

Social sciences

Investigating Mathematical Nature of Korean Traditional Music; Comparing Folk Music and Royal Music

Samsung Electronic’s Prizes

3 electronic devices

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Project title

Spain

Aina Guijarro Baude

19

Social sciences

Learning Spanish as a foreign language. Error analysis

Belarus

Ilya Novoselskiy

16

Environment

Bioconversion of chicken manure into the biomass of microalgae (Dunaliella salina)

Belarus

Nikita Kondratyonok

16

Mathematics

Continued Fractions and Euclidean Algorithm in Norm Unique Factorization Domain


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