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SLU-Madrid Honors High School Students for Research in Information Technology and Astrophysics

by Katie Gortz on 05/19/2021

The judges panel for the 2021 Science and Technology Prize named Javier Sanz Díaz from IES Gerardo Diego (Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid) and Carlota Aybar Canón from IES Margarita Salas (Majadahonda, Madrid) as the winners of the eighth-annual award. Their projects were selected from among 43 submissions to the competition from high schools in Madrid, Catalonia, Galicia and León. Topics included engineering and technology, health sciences, chemistry, biology, earth sciences and computer science.

The panel employed the assessment criteria of originality, creativity, applicability and overall presentation. The winners convened in San Ignacio Hall to present their original research and receive the prizes at the Science and Technology Prize Awards Ceremony.


The awardees and their project coordinators pose for a photo with SLU-Madrid professor Francisco Prieto, Ph.D., who coordinates the annual competition. From left: Jesús Álvarez Herrera, Javier Sanz Díaz, Francisco Prieto, Ph.D., Carlota Aybar Canón and Manuela Rodríguez García

First Prize (1,000 €): “Cuentamíname”

Submitted by Javier Sanz Díaz from IES Gerardo Diego, this project developed a prototype to measure levels of contaminating gases present in the air and to alert the users registered in the application if the levels pass the safety threshold. Sanz Díaz designed and developed both the hardware and the software, and proceeded to test the device experimentally. The judges were impressed by the comprehensiveness and complexity of the project and its potential to provide important benefits to the community. They also noted the project was exceptionally well-documented and organized.

Project coordinator: Jesús Álvarez Herrera y María Ramírez Cruz

Second Prize (500 €): “A la Caza de Exoplanetas. Análisis de los Tránsitos de WASP-12b”

(“Hunting for Extrasolar Planets. An Analysis of the Transits of WASP-12b”)

Carlota Aybar Canón from IES Margarita Salas conducted a detailed experimental study of the known extrasolar planet of the star WASP-12. The study demonstrates the existence of a second extrasolar planet orbiting the same star. Judges valued the method of data analysis employed by Aybar Canón, as well as the clarity and organization of the documentation she presented. They also noted the study was an important contribution to one of the areas of research in the field of astrophysics that has shown significant progress in the last decade.

Project coordinator: Manuela Rodríguez García

Honorable Mentions

Due to the extraordinary quality of the projects submitted to the competition this year, the panel also wishes to offer Honorable Mention to the other projects selected as finalists:

“Parásitos Ocultos: Detección de Cryptosporidium y Giardia en Mejillones Comerciales”
(Hidden Parasites: Detection of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in Commercial Mussels)
IES Margarita Salas (Majadahonda, Madrid)

“Preparación de Nanopartículas de Magnetita sobre Extracto de Patata y Determinación de su Capacidad para Adsorber Metales Pesados”
(“Preparation of Magnetite Nanoparticles on Potato Extract and the Determination of its Capacity to Absorb Heavy Metals”)
Plurilingüe Rosalía De Castro (Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña)

“Diagnóstico de Malaria Mediante el Uso de Redes Neuronales Convolucionales”
(“Diagnosis of Malaria Through the Use of Convolutional Neural Networks”)
IES Margarita Salas (Majadahonda, Madrid)

 “Modelo Matemático para Caracterizar el Lanzamiento de Cohetes de Agua”
(“Mathematical Model to Characterize the Launch of Water Rockets”)
IES Sapere Aude (Villanueva del Pardillo, Madrid)

“La celulosa microbiana de Kombucha, material ecológico del siglo XXI”
(“The Microbial Cellulose of Kombucha: Ecological Material of the XXI Century”)
Colegio Retamar (Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid)

“La función estructural de la forma en el diseño de los cables de un puente colgante”
(The Structural Function of the Form of Design of Cables from a Hanging Bridge”)
IES Plurilingüe Rosalía de Castro (Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña)

“Marte. La Colonización de un Sueño”
(“Mars. The Colonization of a Dream.”)
Colegio SIL (Barcelona)

“Búsqueda de nuevas armas para la lucha contra microorganismos resistentes a los antibióticos con ayuda de la bioinformática”
(Search for New Arms for the Fight Against Microorganisms Residing in Antibiotics with the Help of Bioinformatics”)
IES Plurilingüe Rosalía de Castro (Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña)

“Estatinas a la carta. Medicina personalizada en el tratamiento de la hipercolesterolemia”
(“Statins Made to Order: Personalized Medicine for the Treatment of Hypercholesterolemia”)
IES Margarita Salas (Majadahonda, Madrid)

Dr. Francisco Prieto (Natural Sciences), who coordinates the competition said, “It was a true honor to award this year’s prizes to these two exceptional students. The quality of all of the projects submitted was excellent. We extend our congratulations to all participants and their dedicated mentors.”

SLU-Madrid’s National Science and Technology Competition for High School Students recognizes young scholars who have demonstrated exceptional talent through science and technology research. The award targets those with an interest in pursuing higher education in the science and engineering fields. By recognizing talent and hard work, SLU-Madrid aims to promote creativity and the spirit of research among students in their final two years of secondary school.