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Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation

Jugend forscht - Category Physics

The Fascination of Physics

Physics. I analyze matter and energy and their interactions in space and time using experiments and theoretical approaches.

Whether it’s light or electricity, waves or solid bodies — physics is all around us. The Physics category in Jugend forscht is ideal for any young researcher who is interested in mechanics, acoustics, optics, magnetism, nuclear physics, thermodynamics or electrodynamics. Here, model cars can be tested in wind tunnels, the sounds of musical instruments can be analyzed, the lifespan of soap bubbles can be measured, and experiments can be conducted with fuel cells.

National Winner 2017

Watery Lines and Patterns

When a jet of water strikes a rough surface vertically from above, the water creates a characteristic pattern of lines as it flows away. The national winners in Physics — Matthias Grützner, 16, Julian Egbert, 16, and Arne Geipel, 16, from Berlin — investigated this phenomenon theoretically and experimentally and presented a convincing approach to explaining the phenomenon.

Highlight Projects 2016

One Wing Is Enough: Horten’s Bell-Shaped Lift Distribution for a Flying Wing

A flying wing is an airplane that consists of an airfoil without a fuselage or a tail unit. In contrast to conventional aircraft, flying wings are characterized by optimized aerodynamics and significantly lower fuel consumption. However, they also have certain drawbacks: They are hard to steer and easily go into a spin. Reimar and Walter Horten, aircraft designers from Bonn, Germany, were very skilled in building flying wings. Ivo Zell, a passionate model airplane pilot, utilized a concept developed by the Horten brothers in the 1930s to build a flying wing that remains stable in flight. Zell researched the properties required by such an aircraft both theoretically and experimentally. His research project could help make civil aviation more environmentally compatible — and it also captured first prize in the Physics category.

The young researcher’s flying wing is also making a big impression internationally. Ivo Zell won one of the three top prizes at the 68th Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles, California. Zell received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000 during the prize-giving ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 19, 2017.

Electron Microscope Analyses of Ion-Nanoparticle Interaction

Nanotechnology is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. For example, some types of sports equipment are now reinforced with nanoparticles, and the conducting paths on computer chips are also designed on the nanometer scale. Julia Graupner is fascinated by nanotechnology, which is still in its early stages. She came up with the idea for a sophisticated experiment in which she used a special microscope from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany to observe what happens when nanoparticles of gold are bombarded with gallium ions. She discovered that the bombardment dislodged numerous gold atoms from the particles. This caused the particles to shrink to a greater extent than would have been expected. Her findings could be useful in the production of customized nanostructures in the future. Graupner’s experiment earned her third prize in the Physics category.

Picture credits: Stiftung Jugend forscht e. V.