At this year’s award ceremony for the national “Jugend forscht” competition in Paderborn, five young researchers had two reasons to celebrate: Not only did they take first place in various fields, they were also awarded the Europa-Preis of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The aim of this award is to prepare them specifically for the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which will be held in September in Brussels.
This year the DFG's Europa-Preis was presented to two individual researchers and one research team. Seventeen-year-old Tassilo Schwarz, a pupil at the Bavarian Johannes Heidenhain Gymnasium in Traunreut, received the DFG award in addition to the “Federal Chancellor’s Prize for the Most Original Work”. In the field of mathematics/IT, he developed a technique for identifying undesirable drones and determining their location. At a time in which the use of small drones is constantly increasing, the software written by Schwarz can track drones’ flight paths precisely and is able to differentiate them from passing birds.
Ivo Zell from the Schloss Hansenberg boarding school in Geisenheim achieved first place at national level in the field of physics, and was awarded the Europa-Preis for his research into fuel-efficient aeroplanes: He built a "flying wing", an aeroplane without fuselage, wings or tail assembly. The 17-year-old schoolboy and passionate model plane enthusiast optimised the flying qualities of this special plane using measuring devices he designed himself.
The members of the successful research team were Christian Schärf (18), Friedrich Wanierke (17) and Paul Rathke (18), pupils at the Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium in Erfurt. They won the Europa-Preis in addition to their national win in the field of chemistry. They created tiny ruby monocrystals in a laboratory. To do this, they experimented with various melting and crystallisation processes, analysed the synthesising process and the powder particles and crystals obtained.
The Europa-Preis was presented to the five "Jugend forscht" award winners in Paderborn by DFG Vice President Professor Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer. With this prize, created in 2010, the DFG aims to emphasise the importance of internationalisation for a successful research career. The winners will receive 1,000 euros in prize money, and the opportunity to participate in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which will be held this year from 15-20 September in Brussels.
In the run-up to this event, the young researchers will be tutored by mentors, who will also accompany them to Brussels. The mentors are selected by the DFG from a pool of early career researchers who are supported by them, in the Emmy Noether Programme, for instance. This has the additional aim of facilitating the development of lasting networks between generations of researchers.