History - Success stories - Luxembourg 1994

Jan Oeyulvstad (N)

Second Prize in Luxembourg 1994. His project was titled "Flood Prevention in the River Otra in Southern Norway " and displayed a method for minimising or even avoiding critical flooding during periods of high precipitation in regulated rivers. During the Award Ceremony he remembers they were all "very nervous and felt that we were experiencing a special moment in our life". He remained friend to Gerda Haisma (Dutch member of the organisation team of the Contest) and to contestants such as Jorgen Carling (Third prize in Luxembourg 1994 for "Examining voting patterns" N) and Magnus Vistroem (Magnus Vistroem - Pontus Forslund - Robert Hagglund: Third prize in Luxembourg 1994 for "A car hand brake: a potential life saver?" S). "Concerning the others, I have met some of them on later contests and personal meetings. They have contributed to a very vital network of friends and acquaintances throughout Europe".
The Second Prize at the EU Contest has been vital to his career: "I felt a deep thankfulness, I felt that all the months, weeks, and hours I had spent on my project had finally paid off". Besides, the EU Contest "has been relevant in giving me self-confidence both personally and in business".

Concerning his project, he took lectures on that field at some Water Control Offices in Southern Germany. He worked with hydrologists in Trier (Germany), on the application of his model to the river Mosel.
The model he reviewed in his project has been applied in river Otra (Norway) since 1993 and has led to stronger and more effective flood protection in Mosby, his home village, and the region nearby.

"I'm a last year student at the University of Munich and I have been running my own company, Naviolab Media Solutions, since 15th April 1999. I do some business consulting and developing Internet/Intranet solutions in Germany and Norway. I have mainly had projects on database/driven web sites. This takes a large amount of my time at the moment, yet I do not think I will base my career on it. I have planned to start my PhD in Communications next year".

Jan still has some spare time to employ as a tutor in on-line publishing and as a system operator at the network office of his university.

Magnus Vistroem (S)

He won a Third Prize with a project titled: "A car hand brake: a potential lifesaver?" alongside with Pontus Forslund and Robert Hagglund.

He is about to finish his Masters Degree in industrial engineering and management in Link÷ping.

It could be said that he has not detached himself from the EU Contest atmosphere. He has been the director of the Swedish Exhibition for Young Scientists for two years, and he is currently working part-time as project leader for the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Swedish Federation of Young Scientists. These organisations are fighting hard to implement regional science fairs in Sweden.

Christian Krause (DK)

First Prize and Travel Award to the ISEF in Hamilton (Ontario-Canada) for his project on "TBS. Telephone Break-In Security". The device was successfully patented and a company called Guldager Electronic A/S bought it and started manufacturing and marketing it with the name of "LineProtector".

Just after he won the First Prize in 1994, many firms started to show their interest in manufacturing his idea. He negotiated with some of them and finally he chose Guldager Electronic. He actually worked for them between 1995 and 1996 on a freelance basis in order to assist them in getting his invention ready for production. The new TBS design was presented in March 1996 at a press conference attended by the Danish Minister of Trade and Commerce. The economic agreement between Christian and Guldager Electronic gave the former the possibility to invest money in new ideas and equipment.

And what is he up to now? He is fascinated by the idea of "putting together a lot of people in a place and make them forget everything around them by means of a massive bombardment of sound and light effects". He decided to try and he invested a considerable amount of money in renting a huge hall and some equipment, as well as recruiting some volunteers to help him out. He then designed a massive net of lights that was put up in the hall, all controlled by computers, and marketed the show. 1,500 people attended.
From then on, Christian has been designing and creating audiovisual effects for many festivals and Rock Bands as far away as Singapore or Borneo.

In 1998 he was invited by the European Patent Office (EPO) to participate at the Hanover Industrial Fair, where he had the opportunity of explain the developments of his TBS system, as well as concluding some export deals of it to South America. He then joined the Erasmus program for a year at the Universidad PolitÚcnica de Valencia (Spain), in order to finish his engineering degree and acquire fluency in Spanish.

His graduation project has been an electronic power supply for a Philips MSR575 metal discharge lamp, which is a special kind of lamp used mainly in the entertainment industry. These lamps are very efficient, but very difficult to control because light originates from an arc consisting of two electrodes. The idea he had is "to make an electronic power controller with an onboard microcomputer to make the colour, temperature, and frequency of the light constant. A very important thing when it comes to cinema and television industry".

Currently he is working in the Research and Development department of the world's biggest producer of robotic lights: Martin Professional. Based now in Denmark, Christian Krause is glad to have kept in touch with some of the people he met at the Contest in Luxembourg.

He confesses that "winning the EU Contest was far beyond my dreams and I will never forget that day, I remember that although we were competing against each other, the atmosphere was quite friendly. We were interested in each other's projects, we made jokes and we exchanged experiences. It was all very well organised". He thinks it was the best starting point to his professional life he could have possibly had.

Stefan Serefoglou (GR)

Stefan won a Second Prize at Luxembourg 1994, with a project titled "The Two-To-One Rotation Converter".
A project that was actually patented, although never manufactured or used.

He is now studying Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at the Technical University of Aachen (Germany). He explains that he is currently in the seventh semester and "I plan to get my diploma in about four semesters, after which I may doctorate in electronics. I am right now finishing a project in parallel to the lectures. It entails the development and construction of a starter destined to a special titanium-sapphire laser. It is an electronic circuit with a detector and two external electric-mechanical devices.

He admits "the Prize in Luxembourg enhanced my curriculum vitae. During the EU Contest I became interested in electronic constructions. It was firstly a hobby, but it influenced my career decisions. I believe such contests provide excellent opportunities to broaden one's horizons. Therefore I would like to thank once more the people who organised the Luxembourg one".

Gijs van Oort (NL)

Gijs won a Second Prize at Luxembourg 1994 with a project about "A computer controlled flute". Gijs remembers well a boat trip that they made while they were having dinner down the river Moselle.*

He is a third year student in electrical engineering at the University of Twente (The Netherlands). One of his passions is music, and the other is robotics. Concerning the latter, he has very recently taken part in the National Finals of Createch, a robot building contest. 9 teams from the 3 existing technical universities in the Netherlands had to design a remote controlled vehicle that should be able to pick up helium balloons from a specific point and deposit them in a basket. Gijs' team won the competition.
Many other projects have been developed by this intrepid Dutch, amongst them an electromagnetic cannon, a stunt kite simulator (by means of which one could fly up to 4 stunt kites simultaneously on the screen) and, last but not least, a research on vortices that focused on those normally generated by stirring devices used in the mixing up process of chemical solutions.

Jane Feehan (IRL)

First Prize winner in Luxembourg 1994. She was awarded the trip to the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Stockholm. Jane produced a thorough report on the life and adventures of an insect, "The Calluna Case-Carrier".

About that extensive piece of work, she believes that "if I did it all again there is very little that I would change, and I still think that the project's findings are interesting and important. Looking back on it now, I am impressed with the amount of work that I put in. At the time, though, it was more of a hobby to me than work. Without that, and without all that I gained from participation in the Irish Young Scientist Exhibition and the EU Contest, I probably would be doing something totally different today, maybe music or something else.

She has very good personal recollections from the Contest: "we would talk about one another's country, and laugh about national stereotypes, and how they often contain a grain of truth! The diversity of backgrounds and experiences made us a very varied bunch, and yet we all had plenty in common too. In particular, of course, we had science in common. Being a part of the Contest and meeting all these people got me thinking about what it means to be European, and that it is an important part of my identity. I saw that I have a lot to gain, and also that I have a contribution to make".

Jane has somehow returned to the Commission's scientific programmes: she is now working as stagiaire (in-house trainee) in the Agricultural and Environmental sector within DG Environment of the European Commission. She sees for the integration of environmental concerns into agriculture: "I help with day-to-day work in the unit, but in particular I work on Irish issues, and on the impact of agriculture on bio-diversity". The stage in DG Environment is part of a PhD on the effects of Ireland's agri-environmental scheme on bio-diversity, which is called Rural Environment Protection Scheme or REPS. She has completed one year of her research at Trinity College in Dublin; there are still two to go.
She hopes, when she qualifies, "to continue working within the sphere of European agri-environment, because I see the major impacts -both positive and negative- that farming has on Europe's landscape and environment. I think that the agri-environment movement is extremely important in reducing the detrimental effects of farming, and in supporting those farming practices which maintain some of the valued habitat types that make our landscape what it is".

Participation in the EU Contest for Young Scientists has been pivotal in helping her to decide what she wanted to do for two reasons: "firstly, it was a great confidence-booster to see my work meet with such success, and that confirmed my decision to pursue biology. Secondly, I really enjoyed being with a group of young people from all over the EU (and beyond)".
Besides, the Contest started off her Euro-enthusiasm, and that is certainly one of the reasons that she decided to apply for a stage .