History - Retrospective - Berlin 1993

Museum für Verkehr und Technik - Schloss Bellevue

Once the capital of division and hideously erected walls, a New Berlin of openness and integration welcomed the Fifth Edition of the EU Contest for Young Scientists in 1993. Scarcely three years after the unification of Germany, the city offered its charming cultural tradition to a group of brilliant young researchers who were hoping to be part of that ever-changing milieu.
It is true that within and outside the cultural establishment there is ample space in Berlin for creative artists and the expression of nonconformist views. It is not less true that scientific mavericks somewhat represent that drive for authenticity and they very often end up paving the way to unexpected technological developments. Much scientific "fresh air" was to be displayed on the stands of Fifth EU Contest.

Which is perfectly in accordance to Berlin's own history, by the simple fact that Berlin has been one of the capitals of modern science, right from the late 19th Century until the lamentable emergence of Nazism.
Robert Koch (1843-1910) could be easily remembered as one of the most visionary Berliners. One of the chief founders of bacteriology, Koch studied bacterial life cycles and was the first to isolate a bacillus and culture it in a nutrient medium outside its animal host. He would later observe the tubercle bacillus and the cholera bacillus, and finally given a chair in Berlin University. In 1905 he culminated his career by being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the reason being his breathtaking development of tuberculin as a test for tuberculosis .
A museum in honour of Robert Koch is located within the Institute for Medical Microbiology of Charité, the clinical segment of Humboldt University. For the fortunate visitors, the institution has preserved the old reading room in which Koch first announced his discovery of the tuberculosis bacillus on March 24, 1822. Surely worth taking a look at.
Humboldt University was founded in 1810 after the renowned naturalist and biologist that re-discovered America for scientific purposes. He would compile his observations in the two volumes of his "Cosmos: Conception of a Physical Description of the World". Alexander Von Humboldt held sixty-one lectures at that University, which he called his "Cosmos-lectures" later on, and which became very famous because he succeeded in popularising his findings by gathering and audience that comprised all social classes: from the king to the hackney coachman. Humbold spent most of his life in the Berlin district of Tegel .

Even Einstein is somewhat connected to Berlin: Einstein returned to Germany in 1914 from Zurich in order to accept an impressive offer. It was a research position in the Prussian Academy of Sciences together with a chair (but no teaching duties) at the University of Berlin. He was also offered the directorship of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics, which was about to be established. And then, after a number of false starts, Einstein published his definitive version of the General Theory of Relativity (1915).
But let us approach another area within Berlin, where a probably less popular story awaits us at the western suburb of Dahlem, about six miles from mid-Berlin. The old Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes for science were based in there. It was within their premises that Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner produced the first properly documented fission of an atom in 1938. That experiment led in a few years to the development of the atomic bomb in the United States and subsequently to the use of nuclear power as an energy source .
It seems that a stroll through Berlin can very easily turn into a fulfilling scientific experience .


PRIZE WINNERS

FIRST PRIZES

  • Heinrik Mouritsen : "A biological expedition to the rainforests of the Philippines" DK
  • Lars Knudsen - Peter Andersen : "Droppy, the computer controlled intravenous drip feed" DK
  • Albert Barmettler - Guenther Ederer : "An alarm processing system" A
  • Jan Haugland : "The minimum overlap problem of Paul Erdös" N
  • Rodger Toner - Donal Keane : "Mate selection by a male crustacean" IRL
  • Maria Salvany Gonzalez - Antoni Camprubi I Cano - Fidel Costa Rodriguez : "The geological mapping of a Neolithic mine" E
  • SECOND PRIZES

  • Jan-Cristoph Puchta : "Fermat's last theorem" D
  • Pierre Oger : "Oil (hydrocarbon) recovery from water" B
  • Eleonora Bonanomi - Stefano Consonni - Mircko Signorelli : "Use of biogas in a photosyinthetic culture" I
  • Daniel Morton - Tim Mullis : "A palletiser improvement" UK
  • Peter Seidel : 2Ball lightning, an investigation" D
  • Jürgen Scherschmidt - Jochen Scherschmidt : "A user-friendly video recorder" D
  • TRAVEL AWARD TO THE NOBEL PRIZE

  • Heinrik Mouritsen : "A biological expedition to the rainforests of the Philippines" DK

  • Rodger Toner - Donal Keaner : "Mate selection by a male crustacean" IRL

  • TRAVEL AWARDS TO THE US INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FAIR IN BIRMINGHAM (ALABAMA) IN MAY 1994

  • Heinrik Mouritsen: "A biological expedition to the rainforests of the Philippines" DK

  • Antoni Camprubí - Fidel Costa - María Salvany: "The geological mapping of a neolithic mine" E
  • Rodger Toner - Donal Keane: "Mate selection by a male crustacean" IRL

  • JURY MEMBERS

    Galo Ramírez
    Thor Bak
    Augusto Barroso
    Dervilla Donnelly
    Alfred Frennet
    Maurits Geerlings
    Hans-Friedrich Gruetzmacher
    Joseph Lahr
    Alfred McLaren
    Christos Louis
    Verena Meyer
    Fiorella Padoa Schioppa
    Fritz Paschke
    Mireille Polvé
    Werner Rathmayer
    Peter Swinnerton-Dyer