The University of Groningen Science Support Desk was instrumental in helping a group of secondary school pupils to present their research at the 20th ‘International Conference of Young Scientists’ in Bali, Indonesia. The winners of the Groningen Jan Kommandeur prize went on to win the gold, silver and bronze medals at the conference, in which 23 different countries took part.
The pupils carried out their research as part of their profile assignment, an assignment on a chosen subject in the final year of secondary school for which pupils are encouraged to take an experimental approach to their work.
The Dutch delegation comprised pupils who had been selected via Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Groningen. The three teams selected by Groningen had previously secured the top three places in the Jan Kommandeur prize, an award whereby the fifty most promising profile assignments are selected and assessed by a panel of scientists from the University of Groningen. At the conference, the pupils were given 15 minutes to present their work in English, before being questioned by a panel of scientists from various countries. The pupils gave an excellent presentation.
Pupils nominated by the University of Groningen won the following prizes: Gold in the ‘Life Sciences’ category: Anne de Vries, Elise Pel and Laura de Beer from the Cals College Nieuwegein compared the Dutch protocol for demonstrating the PTC gene with the American protocol. Silver in the ‘Environmental Sciences’ category: Ruben Hoekstra from the Willem Lodewijk Gymnasium in Groningen studied several methods for making prawn fishing more sustainable. Bronze in the ‘Applied Physics’ category: Bob Salet and Tim Keesman from the Lyceum aan Zee in Den Helder ventured into space: they managed to send a weather balloon fitted with 4 cameras and paper models of themselves to an altitude of 36 kilometres, resulting in fabulous footage.
The pupils received a heroes’ welcome on their return to Schiphol on Thursday 25 April.
Renske de Jonge
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