05 November 2018

Students from Escola Secundária de Júlio Dantas, in Lagos, win MEDEA Award

A team of students from Escola Secundária de Júlio Dantas (Júlio Dantas High School), in Lagos, was the winner of the ninth edition of MEDEA, an initiative by REN and by Sociedade Portuguesa de Física (SPF) to promote Physics knowledge among young Portuguese people and society at large.

With the guidance of a teacher, Octávia Santos, students Dinis Melo, Ivan Cojocaru, Vasco Godinho, Ricardo Ramos and João Correia in the course of Sciences and Technologies, from the Júlio Dantas School Group, were given the opportunity to present their project to an audience of classmates and teachers.

The team, named 'Júlios 9', 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 near power transmission equipment. According to this team's website (https://julios9.webnode.pt/), the work enabled finding that the strongest magnetic fields they measured were inside buildings, with brief-usage devices: 'values of 40 µT for a hairdryer and 20 µT for a handheld vacuum cleaner and, in school, 72 µT for the heating plate and 63 µT for the overhead projector. It should be noted that these devices are not used for long periods of time'.

The team from the school in Algarve was 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, two special mentions were also awarded, to two teams of high-school students from Escola Secundária Camilo Castelo Branco, in Famalicão.

Applications for MEDEA's 10th edition start in October. Registrations are open until 24 January. Students can sign up at http://medea.spf.pt. This year, the measurements are preceded by a preparation course taught by MEDEA's Supervisor - Professor Horácio Fernandes, who is striving to have the students better prepared to measure the electromagnetic fields.

About MEDEA:

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.


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