Press Release No. 47 | 25 September 2015
DFG Europa-Preis Recipients Achieve Success at EU Contest for Young Scientists in Milan
"Jugend forscht" award winners present their findings to international jury / One first, one third and three special prizes / Preparation with mentor programme
Five recipients of the Europa-Preis presented by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have also enjoyed international success at the 2015 European Union Contest for Young Scientists, held from 17 - 22 September in Milan. One of the three first prizes, worth 7,000 euros, went to Lukas Stockner from Altötting, who also won a special prize enabling him to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremonies in Stockholm in December. Anselm von Wangenheim from Kassel was presented with one of the three third prizes (3,500 euros) and a special prize from the European Space Agency (ESA) entitling him to visit ESA's facility in the Netherlands. Jakob Dichgans, Daniel Riesterer and Lumen Haendler from Überlingen received a special prize that will allow them to visit the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2016 in the USA.
Before they could accept their awards on the stage of the Teatro dal Verme in Milan, the five young scientists had to present their work, which had already won them recognition in the national science competition "Jugend forscht", to an international jury. To help them prepare for their presentations, held in English, the DFG assigned them mentors and organised a coaching session in Bonn.
The project presented by Lukas Stockner (18) involved the photorealistic representation of objects on a computer. To create a computer graphic of a glass carafe with the sun shining through it that looks just as it does in real life, the scattering and reflection of light need to be precisely described. To achieve this, Stockner used sophisticated statistical methods. Mathematician Professor Felix Krahmer from Garching, who helped him prepare for the presentation in Milan, said: "Lukas' algorithm can beat the best methods in use today thanks to a combination of mathematical methods of impressive depth and efficient implementation. To explain this to the jury we spent several long sessions optimising his presentation with the help of international members of my working group. I'm delighted that Lukas' hard work has been crowned with success."
"Anselm von Wangenheim is a very talented and creative young researcher with many interests who enjoys tackling intriguing problems in mathematics, computer science and physics. Particularly impressive is the design and construction of an upside-down pendulum which is only stabilised by a flywheel," said the 18-year-old's mentor, bioengineer Dr. Moritz Maus from Imperial College London. Dr. Maus explained that von Wangenheim's monopod – a one-legged yet stable robot that hops – combined the young scientist's mathematical skills, a considerable knowledge of computer science and successful engineering. In preparation, von Wangenheim created sophisticated simulations to demonstrate that such a robot was theoretically possible, before presenting the prototype in Milan.
In the "Power to Gas" project, Jakob Dichgans (17), Daniel Riesterer (18) and Lumen Haendler (19), all from Überlingen, developed ideas for storing surplus energy from solar collectors using methane gas. The solar-generated electricity first splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is then converted into methane using carbon dioxide. This process not only stores the surplus electricity in an easy-to-use form, but also utilises the carbon dioxide from the waste gases of combustion. "I was particularly impressed by the fact that these young scientists had the courage to tackle one of the big challenges of the energy transition. With their fresh, unbiased perspective they have discovered an ingenious approach and developed a promising technology," said their mentor, Aachen-based thermal dynamics researcher Professor André Bardow.
The DFG has awarded the Europa-Preis to winners of the national science competition "Jugend forscht" since 2010. In addition to the prize money of 1,000 euros, each winner is given the opportunity to prepare for EUCYS.
- DFG Press and Public Relations
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Information about the national science competition "Jugend forscht" is available at:
Information about the EUCYS competition in Milan is available at:
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