The Physics Awards recognize advances in supermaterials such as graphene and biodegradable batteries

The Physics Awards recognize advances in supermaterials such as graphene and biodegradable batteries

The winners include Pablo Jarillo-Herreros for his work on graphene, and Neus Sabaté Vizcarra, the first inventor of biodegradable paper batteries.

The Physics Awards recognize advances in supermaterials such as graphene and biodegradable batteries

The architects of the discovery of the so-called magic angle of graphene, an advance that could open the door to the future production of much more efficient and cheaper electrical energy; of the invention of biodegradable batteries made of paper, designed for single-use devices as tests for the detection of pregnancies, drugs, diseases or pathogens such as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19; A mapping of galaxies that has shed light on the accelerating expansion of the universe and a new generation of magnetic sensors that may be useful for the development of quantum computers are among the winners this year with the Physics Awards, which are awarded by the Royal Spanish Physics Society (RSEF) and the BBVA Foundation.

These awards recognize creativity, effort and achievement in the field of physics to give impulse and visibility to the best researchers in our country, in a fundamental scientific discipline for the search for basic knowledge and the development of new technological tools. Endowed with 50,000 euros distributed among all its categories , the Physics Awards were established by the RSEF in 1958.

In this edition, the RSEF Medal has been awarded to Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for “the relevance and impact of his seminal work on the physics of two-dimensional materials”, and in specifically due to the discovery of superconductivity in graphene layers, considered “one of the most important milestones in the physics of condensed matter in recent years”, according to the jury's minutes.

Likewise, the discovery of the magic angle has opened the door to the study of similar phenomena in other two-dimensional materials : “What makes me most excited is that now there is a whole community of physicists investigating magic angle graphene and other similar systems. “, has declared Jarillo-Herrero.

Possible use for test-covid

The Physics, Innovation and Technology Prize has been awarded to Neus Sabaté Vizcarra, the inventor of the first biodegradable batteries made of paper, designed for single-use devices, such as pregnancy tests, drugs, diseases and also pathogens such as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Sabaté believes that they could also feed molecular diagnostic tests, such as those used to detect the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. These batteries are activated when they come into contact with the liquid to be analyzed, such as water or saliva.

Two are the winners in the Young Investigator categories. On the one hand, Héctor Gil Marín, from the Institut de Ciències del Cosmos, Universitat de Barcelona, in Theoretical Physics, for “his outstanding contributions to the analysis and interpretation of galaxy cartography , advancing our understanding of the accelerated Universe”, which it has made him “one of the most brilliant researchers in the field of cosmology of his generation.

The other recipient is María José Martínez-Pérez, from the Institute of Nanoscience and Materials of Aragon (CSIC-University of Zaragoza), in Experimental Physics, for “her important contributions in the field of nanomagnetism”, and specifically for developing “a new generation of more sensitive and versatile magnetic sensors “, which has allowed him to tackle the study of nanomaterials of interest in the field of quantum computing.

Solidarity workshops

In the category of Teaching and Dissemination of Physics, the winners are, in University Education, Professor Antonio Guirao Piñera, from the University of Murcia, for “the innovative and creative nature of his teaching and dissemination of Physics”, a through multiple activities such as the development of solidarity workshops, the organization of Fairs, Campus and Science Weeks and the management of the National Physics Olympiad; and in Secondary Education, Professor Matilde Ariza Montes, from IES Pedro Espinosa, in Antequera (Málaga), for “her numerous and varied activities to improve the teaching of Physics and Chemistry”, including various outreach actions, conservation of the scientific-historical heritage of secondary schools and participation in multiple teaching innovation projects.

On the other hand, the awards for Best Article in RSEF publications have been, in the Teaching category, for Fernando Ignacio de Prada Pérez de Azpeitia and José Antonio Martínez Pons, for their article “Physics is cool with the Energy Stick and the plasma ball “, which” explains in a very didactic way two original educational resources to make the teaching of complex physical phenomena simple and more attractive for students, thus increasing their interest in Physics “; and in the Disclosure category, for Antxon Alberdi, José L. Gómez, Iván Martí-Vidal and Eduardo Ros, for their article: “Event Horizon Telescope: photographing the frontiers of the Universe”, which exposes the obtaining of the first image of the shadow of a black hole “.

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