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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 28, 2009
Young talent
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Praise and Prizes in Paris
October 28, 2009   
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An international panel of judges granted three first prizes, each of 7,000 euros, to research papers from Ireland, Switzerland and Poland.

The authors of the prize-winning Polish paper are Aleksander Kubica from Bystra, Silesia province, a graduate of High School No. 5 in Bielsko-Biała and a University of Warsaw freshman; and Wiktor Pilewski from Skępe, Kujawy-Pomerania province, a graduate of the T. Ko¶ciuszko High School No. 4 in Toruń and a freshman at the Electronics Faculty of the Poznań University of Technology. They wrote their paper, Spiral Diffractive Lenses, following research workshops organized by the Polish Children's Fund. They were tutored by Prof. Czesław Radziewicz from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw.

Kubica and Pilewski also received honorary awards in the form of invitations to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar and the London International Young Scientists Forum.

This year's finals of the EU Contest for Young Scientists featured 77 papers written by 122 young scientists in 32 European countries, and there were also 10 papers by winners of contests for young scientists in China, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States.

Contestants from Poland also included Anna Kornakiewicz from Zawiercie, Silesia province, a graduate of High School No. 1 in Zawiercie and a first-year student at the Medical University of Warsaw. Her paper was entitled Evolution of Ciprofloxacin Resistance Potential in Escherichia Coli. Yet another Polish paper that qualified for the finals was The Content and Distribution of Kynurenic Acid in Medicinal Plants: The Circulation of Kynurenic Acid in Nature. It was co-written by Michał Tuski from Lublin, a graduate of the city's St. Staszic High School No. 1 and a Warsaw School of Economics freshman, and Monika Turska, a first-grade student at the St. Staszic High School No. 1 in Lublin.

Both these papers received high ratings from the judges, who included scientists from different EU member states and members of the European Patent Office. The panel was presided by Prof. Chris Philips from the Imperial College in London.

National heats
The papers representing Poland had been selected in a qualifying round by the Polish Contest Committee from among submissions that previously won nationwide contests or were specially recommended by scholars.

Before joining the contest, all the authors took part in a Polish Children's Fund program for gifted youth. The fund organizes the Polish qualifying round, which is supervised by the Polish Contest Committee, a body that was appointed in 1994 by the education minister together with the chairman of the State Committee for Scientific Research. The Polish Contest Committee consists of university professors and members of research institutions. The committee's chairman is Prof. Henryk Szymczak from the Polish Academy of Sciences' (PAN) Institute of Physics. The panel of judges appointed by the Committee includes researchers from universities and PAN institutes. Since 1998, it has been chaired by Prof. Jan Madey from the University of Warsaw's Institute of Computer Science.

The costs of the qualifying round and other preparations for this year's finals were covered by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Since 2001, winners of the qualifying round have been able to enter the University of Warsaw without taking exams; since 2003 they have been eligible for the same privilege at the Warsaw University of Technology and several other universities.

Community contest
The EU Contest for Young Scientists has been organized by the European Commission since 1989 and at present it is part of the EU's Science in Society program. The contest covers exact sciences, natural sciences, technology, economics and social sciences. Contestants have to present the results of their research or technical papers. Participating countries can submit up to three papers selected in national competitions and enter no more than six contestants to the European finals. Contest participants have to be aged from 14 to 20 and must complete their papers before entering university. One paper can be authored by no more than three individuals. The research work cannot involve invasive experiments on animals.

This year was the 15th time Polish scientists took part in the contest. So far, Poland has won 17 main awards, including five first prizes, six second prizes and six third prizes, as well as 10 special awards. Papers for the next Polish qualifying round for the EU Contest for Young Scientists must be submitted by Oct. 31, 2009. The Polish finals will take place in the first half of January 2010, while the next European finals will be held in September next year.
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