History - Retrospective - Brussels 1989

Albert Borschette Conference Centre of the European Community - Palais des Académies

The starting point of the EU Contest for Young Scientists had to be the capital of Europe. Brussels stands as a sort of micro-Europe itself, in which any language can be heard and utilised, at any moment and anywhere. Four months before the finals in October, on June 18th 1989 and for the first time ever, the citizens of Brussels elected their regional representatives directly. Brussels-Capital Region was henceforth considered an autonomous region, along with the Flemish and Walloon Regions.
The capital, if not large, is somehow a miraculous synthesis of what Europe is and what Europe is not. Home to the main EU institutions and cosmopolitan par excellence, Brussels has had the wisdom to preserve that precious, almost intangible human touch that many huge cities scarcely possess.
In addition to this, the scientific legacy of Brussels is anything but modest. A Belgian engineer called Ernest Solvay (1838-1922) is partly to blame. He commenced the tradition of the Solvay Councils, gathering together the most influential European scientists of this century: from Marie Curie to Bohr, alongside with Rutherford, Fermi, and Einstein. Solvay, a philanthropist with a keen interest in the development of science, organised the first meetings in his own Brussels country house. Little he knew about the future impact of his initiative. In October 1933, the 7th Solvay Physics Council would have Max Born say things like "physics, as we know it, will be over in six months". Virtually all of particle physics followed this meeting.

Brussels was the birthplace of Pierre Verhulst. He would be appointed professor of mathematics at the Université Libre of Brussels and in 1846 he would show that forces which tend to prevent a population growth increase in proportion to the ratio of the excess population to the total population. The non-linear differential equation describing the growth of a biological population, which he deduced and studied, is now named after him. Based on his theory, Verhulst predicted the upper limit of the Belgium population would be 9,400,000. In fact the population in 1999 is 10,182,034.

As to more recent personalities, it is worth mentioning that Illya Prigogine, who is still working for the Université Libre de Bruxelles, won the 1977 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics.
Brussels is not only about art nouveau and La Grand Place, after all.



  • Mogens Markussen: "Eyewriter, an eye operated control unit" DK

  • Stephan Schlitter: "Conducting polymers in batteries" D

  • Grace O'Connor - Sinead Finn : "A crop fractionation industry " IRL

  • Lina Tomasella : "Toxicity of colour dyes used as tracers" I

  • Nicola Kirk : "Walking aid for a disabled person" UK

  • Jean-Pierre Wyss - Matthias Zimmermann - Elmar Artho : "Recognition of handwritten signs" CH

  • Serge van der Velde - Olivier Camberlin : "Computer-guided solar furnace" B

  • Charles Courtin - Pierre Betsch - Hugues Nodet : "A Doppler rocket" F

  • Menno Bolt - Eric Toonen - Pascal Stevelmans : "Wind energy project" NL

  • Mark Mathieson : "Voice intensity feedback for speech handicapped" UK

  • Halldor Fossa : "Expert systems in cancer treatment" N

  • Anouk Thommen : "Comparative study of two composts" CH

  • Samuel Delaere: "Electromagnetic radiation" B

  • Dimitri Hautot: "Studies on the Kelvin generator" B

  • Stephan Røntved - Søren Chyltoft: "LISSI, an I. C. Test Computer" DK

  • Matthias Büger: "Axiomatic theory of mean values" D

  • Walter Georg Veeck - Jens Schneider: "Construction of a diffusion cloud chamber" D

  • Dimitri Theocharidis - Paul Magoulas: "New Dimension 2000, an automation system with computer" GR

  • Fermín Tabar - Luis Rodríguez - Antonio Sánchez: "Multi-use interface applied in a greenhouse" E

  • Juan Navas - José Ortega - José Navas: "Computer-based sound synthesis system" E

  • Benoît Landeos - Bertrand Dubois - Alain Crusoe: "Wheelchair adapted for racing" F

  • Patrick Mora - Jean-François López: "Meteorological imaging" F
  • Enrico Corsini: "Solar spots" I

  • Valerio Emma: "The rhopalocerous insect" I

  • Marc Pauly - Gérard Milmeister: "The fantastic world of fractals" L

  • Yves Thill - Serge Remesch: "Mapograph, a computer-aided writer"

  • Manuel van Den Bergh - Laurens Smit - Mathieu van Geffen: "CHIP, a computer hardware instruction project" NL

  • Paulo Ribeiro: "Diving patterns of the bottlenose dolphin" P

  • Reinhard Herzog: "An electronic plotter" A

  • Stein Ringnes - Ingvar Apeland - Jarand Felland: "Solar energy project" N

    Peter Swinnerton-Dyer
    Thor Bak § Luiggi Dadda
    J. Ferry-Borges
    C. Krimbas
    R. J. van Overstraeten
    Fritz Paschke
    P. Pascual § Mireille Polvé
    Werner Rathmayer
    Pierce Ryan
    Hendrik de Waard