- Success stories - Berlin 1993
prize, alongside with Maria Cinta Salvany and Antoni Camprubí:
The geological mapping of a neolithic mine. ISEF prize to
he finished his Earth Sciences degree at the University of
Barcelona, he moved to Geneva to do a PhD in Petrology and
Vulcanology. The Department of Mineralogy of the University
of Geneva has a strong research interest in the geology of
the South American Andes cordillera. He explains that "the
subject of my thesis, which I completed last November, was
to study a part of the Tatara-San Pedro Volcanic Complex in
Southern Andes (central Chile). My tasks entailed mapping,
stratigraphy, geochronology, petrography, mineralogy, and
geochemistry. All those I utilised in order to study lava
and rock fragments that are found within it".
been addressing issues such as the petrologic mechanisms that
lead to the impressive diversity of rock compositions in the
Andes. And many other: from the rates of growth and destruction
of volcanic edifices to the amount of volatiles that can be
found in rocks prior to eruption, and many other fundamental
aspects about the variances and history of our current continents.
He admits that, amongst his future plans, he may choose to
go and establish in Chile for a while in order to undertake
more detailed investigations.
prize alongside with Fidel Costa and María Cinta Salvany.
The geological mapping of a Neolithic mine. ISEF prize to
Birmingham (Alabama). Antoni reminds best his sheer happiness
by the fact of having been chosen to represent Spain in Berlin.
But we should make no mistake: "we were quite prepared concerning
our work, we did even take with us a microscope from Barcelona,
which meant we had to jump over loads of bureaucracy that
was necessary to achieve things of the like". Before the judges
arrived, they had the opportunity to talk to the other contestants
in front of their stands. Antoni remembers that "they were
kind of surprised about our field, I mean geology. Apparently
this science is not very relevant in some other countries".
he particularly recalls the difficulties of communicating
in English, as well as the enjoyment and amusing situations
it gave way to. He got on very well with Jan-Cristoph Puchta,
a German participant that based his project on Fermat's last
the judges finally entered the exhibition, the majority of
them stood by Antoni, Fidel and Maria Cinta's stand: "it was
very pleasant to speak to Jury members. And we did it for
long enough to defend our research. It was clear to me that
we did our best. I specially enjoyed the conversation with
Mireille Polvé, a French geologist and member of the Jury".
Antoni thought that their project could have a prize because
of the deep interest shown by the Jury: "during the award
ceremony we were very excited about the possibility of getting
that prize, and we actually saw we were not the only ones.
The loudspeakers announced that one of the teams had won a
second prize and they almost trampled underfoot the former
president of Germany, Richard von Weiszäcker". Concerning
accommodation, Antoni believes that it was just fantastic:
"in the middle of a forest and in the middle of the most absolute
silence. Very agreeable. Not to speak about food and beer!
My digestive system has never been so happy". He enjoyed very
much the nights out and the visit to a typical Berlin Cabaret:
"we did not understand a single word, but Jean-Christoph would
try hard to make a simultaneous translation". As an anecdote,
Antoni refers to their visit to the palace of Sans-Souci in
Postdam: "we were profoundly impressed about those premises
and halls. We actually spent a long time admiring one of the
rooms there, which was fully covered by enormous minerals.
Frederick II the Great brought them back from his Russian
campaigns during the 18th century. Noticing that we were stared
at them a bit too much, the wardens visibly started to get
a little bit nervous and they would not stop observing us".
completing his thesis, he moved to South America and he is
now working at the Instituto de Geología de la Universidad
Nacional Autónoma in México D. F. He is completing a PhD on
mineral deposits, actually remaining within the same field
of geology of the project he presented to the EU Contest.
There are plain differences, though. Antoni focuses now on
gold and silver veins. He and his team have spent a year and
a half in charge of diverse projects assigned to them by Mexican
officials, specifically the National Commission for Science
moved very fast after winning the EU Contest in Berlin. He
got direct access to a postgraduate course at the Universidad
de Barcelona by means of the Prize. After finishing that,
with a cum laude mention, he began his PhD in Mexico. He admits
that the Berlin Contest has been "a key event in my career.
From then on, a chain of other events have led me to professionally
undertake scientific research".
1993. Second prize alongside with Stefano Consonni and Mircko
Signorelli: Use of Biogas in a Photosyinthetic Culture. The
project aimed to show the benefits arising from the use of
anaerobic methods of biological digestion processes. These
processes deal with the treatment of urban waste, water and
Concerning the days of the EU Contest, she remembers that
she and the rest of participants enjoyed "going around the
city when we had free time. We spent many nights together
in one room speaking about everything. As usual, lots of love
stories started off or were about to start off".
as well, her collaboration as a member of the organising team
(Milano 1997) and as a member of the Alumni Jury (Thessaloniki
1999): "I hope one day I will be in the Jury. I am still in
touch with the organisation that appoints the Italian team
for the EU Contest and I help them out whenever they need
it. I was a member of the Jury during the 7th International
Environmental Project Olympiad held in Istanbul last June".
She confesses she loved to speak to young students about the
research they are doing.
Concerning the project about Biogas, she did not carry on
with it because "it was impossible for me to study in Milano
and, at the same time, to go to Bergamo, where there was the
pilot plant". She actually thinks she should restart the project
and try to develop "a model of the system to simulate its
functioning within a water purification plant"
successfully completed her degree in Chemical Engineering
(Politecnico di Milano) and now she is a PhD student in Zurich
(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), doing research on
distillation processes. She enjoys it because it gives her
the opportunity, at the same time, to study for a Postgraduate
Certificate in Information Technology (Nachdiplomstudium in
Informationtechnik). The distillation processes are studied
by means of a unit used in chemical, pharmaceutical and petroleum
industry called "column". Distillation columns are used to
separate the different compounds of a mixture, and there are
many types of distillation columns, depending on the mixture
we want to separate .