- Success stories - Newcastle 1995
Prize and ISEF travel award for his project "Radio Waves from
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9", alongside with Matthew Thomas.
Chris believes that the EU Contest somewhat "opened my eyes.
Living in a very quiet area of Southwest England, it was rare
to meet others with the drive and curiosity to complete a
science fair project. In the space of that week I learned
how so many people, from such different backgrounds, can have
so much in common. The intense concentration of agile minds
at the Newcastle Contest was breathtaking. The topic of conversation
would drift from our projects, through science fiction and
philosophy back to our projects again. I am very glad we were
able to come together for that magical week in 1995".
recalls his affinity with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, the representative
from the European School of Munich: "we had a shared love
of Isaac Asimov's writings, and at the time we agreed to collaborate
on our own science fiction book. I guess it is something that
is yet to happen, though it has not been ruled out for the
Contest in 1995 coincided with the British Association for
the Advancement of Science's Science Week, which was being
held in the same city. On one day, Chris found himself explaining
his project to Professor Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal:
"I found it amazing that someone performing such high-powered
research could be interested in my project; it was certainly
a great honour to speak to him, and he was very approachable
his and Matthew's project, he describes it as "a radio telescope
that measured the radio flux from the impact of the Comet
Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter. It was a once-in-a-life-time
opportunity, and I would welcome the chance to do something
similar again". He attributes the First Prize to "some twist
of fate". He considers that "the accolade could so easily
have gone to someone else… Everyone at the Contest must have
been struck by the sheer quality of science projects present.
Looking down the list of projects at the start of the week
was very daunting; I did not know what to expect when I met
the other scientists. I had pictures in my mind of very serious,
focused individuals with whom it would be very difficult to
communicate. It was a pleasant surprise to discover how wrong
the ISEF travel award to Arizona, there was an amazing coincidence.
While attending it, he got to have dinner with Reneé and Stefane
Filion of North Bay, Canada: "we became instant soul mates
and are still in very regular contact -I think it currently
averages about two e-mails each per day-. A year later, Reneé
and her brother were selected by the ISEF to take part in
the same reciprocal exchange programme. They represented the
ISEF at the 9th EU Contest in Milan".
currently studying Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory (Sidney
Sussex College) of the University of Cambridge. Five years
later, he is still firmly embedded in the study of physics
and astronomy. He reckons that "Cambridge is a wonderful university,
although it is a lot of work and the standard is astronomically
high. I love it though; you might think the place would be
incredibly competitive, but it is not. The fact is that everyone
is in the same boat". He hopes to emerge with a MSci and a
BA in the Natural Sciences in 2001.
Contest made Chris aware of the many possibilities the scientific
world has on offer: "more than anything it made me realise
how much I enjoy public speaking, and explaining science to
the layman. One distinct memory is that of a visit by local
Newcastle schoolchildren; somehow my partner nominated me
to speak to them, so I took up the challenge. With suitable
audio-visual aids, including a laptop computer and a slide
projector, I had them enthralled and listening intently. Many
children are fascinated by astronomy and space science".
In the future he would like to be in a career where he can
explain his ideas to others: "this does not necessarily mean
teaching, since research and any other sort of team-based
job require this skill. I have got many options open, and
I imagine that many other ex-Contest scientists are facing
a similar decision, and are most likely looking in the same
areas as I am".
won a Thrid Prize at Newcastle 1995 for a project based on
"A Virus Recognition Program to Prevent Computer Infection".
He perfected this program for a year, and there was a Hungarian
entrepreneur who got to distribute it:
"unfortunately, it has not been widely used in industry. My
distributor was able to sell only a few hundred copies of
it". However, he is quite happy about other outcomes: "I won
the Genius Award at the Genius 96 exhibition, as well as the
Croatian Inventors Association Award". The problem is his
program only works under DOS, and a complex operating system
such as Windows would not allow its functioning.
is now a software developer at VirusBuster Ltd., which is
the biggest Hungarian anti-virus company: "I have been working
here since 1995. The first days I only debugged various viruses.
Now debugging means having to say what and how the virus does
as well. And then I have to find it and finally kill it".
joined the department of program developing, which meant he
had to develop a cleaning application for a Word/Excel resident
He has written his dissertation on this matter, too: "Protection
against the new types of viruses". He explains that: "I described
there the behaviour of some macro viruses, as well as some
new dangerous attacks through the Internet and the available
protection against hem". This dissertation won him a Third
Prize at HET 1998 (Scientific Society for Telecommunications),
a renowned Hungarian scientific competition.
At the same time, he has been studying at the Jozsef Attila
University of Szeged (Hungary), from which he will graduate
in Software Designing.
with Frank Ekpar, Erik won a Third Prize at Newcastle 1995
for his project titled "Mobile Robots: Motorless Motion Using
Shape Memory Alloy Actuators". He reckons that what he mainly
learnt during the EU Contest was how to manage, develop, organise
and present a scientific project.
started his PhD last September at the Technical University
of Budapest, in the field of Virtual Companies Organisation.
van Meeuwen (NL)
participated in the Newcastle 1995 Contest, and won a Second
Prize for a project titled "The Witty Wise Writing Writer".
He reckons that his memories about the EU Contest are "well
stored and they look like a dream in which I was allowed to
take part. It was a very pleasant time. Representing the Netherlands
in front of people from all over Europe was a great experience,
and winning my prize afterwards made this feeling even more
complete. I wish many young people could have so much luck
when they are only 18 years old!"
Concerning the accommodation, he was just shocked: "it did
not feel right to enter the hotel wearing jeans. And having
lunch at Durham Castle, all specially organised for us, was
not bad either!"
remembers a long conversation with a member of the Jury: "he
seemed to understand very well what I intended to show by
means of my project, which was my desire to understand every
little detail of a component before actually using it. That
gave me a very positive impulse. I have to say my machine
was no high tech product, but you could realise that I constructed
it by assembling basic elements. Well, he was impressed by
this fact. He encouraged me to continue this path".
project was a computer controlled pen that was able to write
and imitate his handwriting, and the prize it was awarded
gave him the opportunity to buy complementary tools for further
projects and developments.
confirmed that he was on the right way: "it meant that not
only I did like technology, but also that my ideas were valuable
and worth it. The prize came up at the time I had to choose
what to study, and it therefore helped me to make the right
choice, that is electrical engineering".
He considers the EU Contest to be "a very good way of stimulating
young people to work in the scientific field. The organisation
of the Newcastle edition was just fantastic; and I was delighted
to see how seriously our projects were treated, and how much
attention they received".
now studying electrical engineering at the Technical University
of Eindhoven. He started in 1996 and he has simultaneously
been working on different projects at the Laboratory of Young
Scientists in Eindhoven. He often meets younger researchers
that remind him of the EU Contest, and he usually helps them
out in whatever they need. Over the last two years, he has
developed a computer program that, alongside with an interface,
electronic components, and mechanical elements, work together
and in a human-like fashion. He has baptised it as "A Hand
Full of Movement", since it aims to imitate the motion of
a hand that is made out of Plexiglas. It made him aware of
the complexity of a human hand, plus winning another prize
at the Dutch Contest for Young Scientists.
obtained a Special Mention from the Jury for his project on
"The Consumer Choice and its Relationship with Advertising
and Healthy Diet". His work dealt with many connected issues
such as the categories of food whose large consumption is
likely to cause serious health problems (cancer, diabetes,
etc.) and the psychological approach to why and how young
people consume under the pressure of advertising and the mass
doctors at the Health Centre of Chrisoupoulis later used the
survey, and it was partially used in a paper titled "Corpulence:
Origin, Experience, and Tolerance", which was presented during
the 7th Pan Hellenic Congress of General Practitioners in
April 1995. Some of its elements were again included within
"Height and Weight Indications Amongst the Students of Secondary
Schools in the Region of Kavala", another paper presented
at the same Congress of General Practitioners two years later.
to Newcastle 1995, he recalls that "even though I needed a
computer in order to exhibit my project, I was not able to
get one. Fortunately, the co-ordinator of the Contest was
so helpful and gentle as to lend me her own laptop for presentation
purposes. I will not forget that".
participated in different medical projects since the EU Contest
in Newcastle: from ageing to the allergic diseases of the
respiratory system, psychiatric disorders, and walking impairments
of the old.
he is studying his second year of Medicine at the University
of Bologna (Italy).
he goes back to 1994, he is still surprised about how the
choice of his project has actually influenced his life: "the
experience of the EU Contest was truly determinant, since
it influenced perhaps the most relevant decision of my life,
that is the selection of my future profession". His participation
in the Contest made him aware of the responsibility that entails
working in a scientific way and exploring new horizons in
research: "from that moment I knew I would become a doctor.
I realised it from the moment I started to know more about
the dietary habits of young people, the harmful chemical additives,
the essential ingredients for the chemical equilibrium of
our organism, etc .