On 16 September 2011, the VON ARDENNE Physics Award presentation took place at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). Lucas Böttcher from Chemnitz was awarded first prize for his exceptional research paper about graph surfaces. Further cash prizes were awarded to pupils from Meissen, Leipzig and Riesa. Altogether, 17 physics projects by 19 pupils were awarded a prize.
For the 11th time already, the HZDR in cooperation with the TU (Technical University) Dresden, the TU Chemnitz, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the Universität Leipzig awarded the VON ARDENNE Physics Prizes to Saxon high school pupils for their outstanding work in physics. VON ARDENNE has been endowing the cash prizes since 2009 with the intention to reward exceptional commitment in physics. At the same time, pupils shall be motivated to choose a study in the field of natural science. The Saxon Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs, Roland Wöller, is the patron of this competition.
The graph material "miracle"
Award winner Lucas Böttcher representing the Samuel von Pufendorf Gymnasium in Flöha, investigated the preparation of graphs, for which the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded only last year. The ultra-thin material consists of only one atomic layer of carbon and amazes by its extreme stability and extraordinary material properties. More than 100 research groups in Germany alone are occupied with potential fields of application for this material. They reach from the use in basic research to the application as a new material for transistors, computer displays etc. Not only has Lucas Böttcher analyzed the structure and properties of the material, but he also dealt with strategies for the manufacturing of graphs that shall help the scientists of the Chemnitz Technical University Institute of Physics, who supported his exceptional research paper, with their research of graphs.
The road to winning the physics prizes
The precondition for pupils to take part in the competition is a nomination by their specialist subject teacher. As a rule, each school can hand in only one exceptional research paper. A selection panel consisting of professors of the TU Dresden, the TU Chemnitz, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, the Universität Leipzig and the HZDR evaluates the research papers and selects the award winners.