A team of four students from the Garcia de Orta Secondary School, in Porto, won the 14th edition of MEDEA, an initiative of the Portuguese Physics Society (SPF– Sociedade Portuguesa de Física) and REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, aimed at promoting knowledge of physics and the study of electromagnetic fields among Portuguese youth and society in general.
The first prize, awarded to the “Faraday” team, was announced today during a ceremony held at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto. The event also awarded an honourable mention to the “Rádio Infante” team from the Infante D. Henrique Secondary School, also in Porto.
The winning project conducted several experiments with a primary emphasis on studying the magnetic field in the vicinity of a medium/high-voltage power line. They aimed to ensure compliance with the standards set by the World Health Organization. Additionally, they conducted small-scale experiments at the school to educate students about electromagnetism.
The team, composed of Afonso Sousa, Chantal Falcón, Daniel Neuforge, and Rodrigo Marques, 12th-grade students from Garcia de Orta Secondary School, under the guidance of teacher Carlos Carvalho, also studied the magnetic field in the vicinity of an MRI/CT scan room, and interviewed healthcare professionals. Additionally, they later delved into the causes and consequences of changes in the patterns of the Northern Lights in Scotland.
The “Rádio Infante” team, in contrast, chose to build a prototype of an electromagnetic field meter based on Arduíno, an open-source electronic board with open hardware that enables the development of automation projects.
The team, composed of Gabriel Barbosa, Maria Ferreira, and Pedro Silva, under the guidance of teachers Osvaldo Ribeiro and Catarina Silva, applied their acquired knowledge of electronics and programming, and they were also awarded during the ceremony.
José António Paixão, from SPF, reflects positively on this edition, stating that “we once again had good participation from schools in this project, which leaves us very pleased. For all participants in MEDEA, this was undoubtedly an enriching experience. The opportunity to conduct electromagnetic field measurements with equipment that is not typically available in schools and to combine theoretical knowledge with practical research on a relevant societal issue makes this project an asset to the teaching of Physics. We are very grateful to REN for this partnership”.
The 15th edition of MEDEA will be open for applications on 17 October 2023. The teams can sign up at http://medea.spf.pt