Two teams of students from Escola Secundária Camilo Castelo Branco (Camilo Castelo Branco High School), in Famalicão, were awarded with a special mention in the ninth edition of MEDEA, an initiative by REN and by Sociedade Portuguesa de Física (SPF) to promote knowledge of Physics among young Portuguese people and society at large.
With the guidance of a teacher, Teresa Martins, students Afonso Magalhães, Carolina Sousa, Inês Pinho, Maria Vale, Pedro Ferreira, Adriana Domingues, Helena Araújo, Marcelo Muge and Sara Cunha, from the course of Sciences and Technologies, from the Camilo Castelo Branco School Group, were given the opportunity to present their project to an audience of classmates and teachers.
The teams, named 'Magneticus' and 'Magnetic Force', developed a scientific school project that sought to identify and measure the low-frequency electromagnetic fields that surround us and found that we have electromagnetic fields around us in our everyday lives: at home with our appliances, in electrical facilities and on the train. According to the websites of these teams of students (https://oscamilianos.wixsite.com/magnetic-force https://magneticus9.wixsite.com/magneticus), the projects also enabled pointing out that 'the order of magnitude of the [electromagnetic] fields around the [power] plant are almost negligible when compared with the limit established by the WHO, therefore representing no danger to our well-being'. Generally speaking, these students' projects enabled finding that, 'in our daily lives, the electromagnetic fields surrounding us (appliances and power transmission lines) have intensities below the threshold established by the World Health Organization'
The Magneticus and Magnetic Force teams were also honoured during the 21st National Physics Conference and 28th Iberian Meeting for the Teaching of Physics, which took place on 1 September 2018, at the College of Health Sciences of the University of Beira Interior, in Covilhã.
In the ninth edition of MEDEA, the first prize was awarded to the Júlios 9 team, from Escola Secundária de Júlio Dantas, from Lagos.
Applications for MEDEA's 10th edition start in October. The registration period will last until 24 January. Students can sign up at http://medea.spf.pt/inscricao/. This year, the measurements are preceded by a preparation course: feX_Mag3D (https://courses.mooc.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/), taught by MEDEA's Supervisor - Professor Horácio Fernandes, who is striving to have the students better prepared to measure the electromagnetic fields.
Established in 2008, MEDEA is directed to students from the 10th to the 12th year of secondary and professional education. It enables practical application of the training provided in the educational institutions, combining scientific knowledge with the students' everyday lives via experiments carried out by the students themselves, inside and outside the classrooms.
The participants prepare a science project based on measurements of electrical and magnetic fields of very low frequency 0-300 Hz, in the environment, specifically at their school, at home and in the vicinity of electric power transmission lines, and on the search for scientifically credible information concerning possible effects of these fields on human health. Participating schools receive an instrument to measure electric and magnetic fields that the students use during the project. Each team then creates a website dedicated exclusively to MEDEA, where the team presents all obtained results, performed searches and other information relevant to the project. The teams with the best projects will be awarded.