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RDT info logoMagazine on European Research N° 51 - December 2006
 Man and machine: new communications
 E-inclusion, heads or tails
 Biotechnology: growing in popularity
 "A straight-talking scientist can create quite a stir"
 Diabetes + obesity = diabesity
 The history of the yeast genome
 Rebel with multiple causes
 On the trail of the sixties

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Title   Nobel prize winners to be

“I very much hope that you will all continue to enjoy the thrill of invention and discovery, now and throughout your lives.”

The 2006 winners
The 2006 winners
© Fredrik Persson
This congratulatory phrase was delivered by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, to the 24 winners of the 18th Contest for Young Scientists, organised by the European Union and with a prize fund of €28,500 (shared between nine projects). The celebratory final of the 2006 competition took place in Stockholm at the end of September in a scientifically historic and symbolic location – the Vinterträdgården (Winter Garden) of the Grand Hotel in Stockholm – where the Nobel Prize award ceremony was held from 1901 to 1929. The results were announced by Jane Grimson, Chairman of the Scientific Jury and Professor of Information Sciences at Trinity College, Dublin.

Tomasz Wdowik
Tomasz Wdowik (Poland),
1st prize for his biology work on ß blockers.

This year, the search for the “Nobel prize winners to be”, through national competitions between secondary schools in 33 countries (including the United States, Russia and China), produced 79 competing projects involving 120 young people aged from 15 to 20. Jane Grimson emphasised the difficulty encountered by the jury in deciding between the projects, as the overall level proved remarkable in terms of multidisciplinary variety and creativity, serious science and interest in terms of application.

Three projects shared first prize, each receiving €5,000. The awards went to:

  • Michael Kaiser and Johannes Kienl (Austria), 1st prize for the development of a completely new de-icing system for aircraft;
  • Johannes Burkart and Alexander Joos from Germany for the analysis of flight curves of table-tennis balls;
  • and Tomasz Wdowik from Poland for the synthesis of new potential ß blockers.
Michael Kaiser and Johannes Kienl
Michael Kaiser and Johannes Kienl (Austria), 1st prize for the development of a completely new de-icing system for aircraft.
Johannes Burkart and Alexander Joos
Johannes Burkart and Alexander Joos (Germany), 1st prize for their studies on the flight curves of table-tennis balls.
There were also three second prizes (€3,000) and three third prizes (€1,500), as well as several special prizes consisting of invitations to international scientific forums and visits to EIROforum European research centres (1). These went to young people living in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Spain. The presence of a significant number of winners from countries new to the Union on this map of young peoples' scientific excellence is to be noted.

The 2007 final of the Contest for Young Scientists will take place in Spain at the University of Valencia.

(1) CERN (CH), EFDA (UK), ILL et ESFR (FR), EMBL, ESA et ESO (DE).