Girls and lads of 15 years who talk of atoms, cells and mitochondria

When you say Spain, we were all on tiptoe waiting for them to announce the winner. And suddenly... they said my name!". Maria Lucia Aparicio, 15 years old, sti

Girls and lads of 15 years who talk of atoms, cells and mitochondria

When you say Spain, we were all on tiptoe waiting for them to announce the winner. And suddenly... they said my name!". Maria Lucia Aparicio, 15 years old, still gets excited when remembering the time that we got a bronze medal at the XVI Olympiad Youth Scientific International (IJSO, for its acronym in English), held from 3 to 12 December in Doha (Qatar), in which they evaluated knowledge in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. Aparicio was part of the Spanish delegation, formed by three students of the IES Aramo of Oviedo, where she studies, and three of the school Good Shepherd of Seville. Six students of 4th of ESO, in less than a month, they took in the syllabus equivalent to the repertoire of scientific 2nd year of high school and were heading to Qatar, where they competed against over 700 students from 70 countries. "In Spain there are many young people with talent and interest in science," says Zaida Fernandez, a biology professor at the IES Aramo. "I wish we put it in value," he adds.

this Is the first time that Spain competes in the IJSO, although the difficulty of finding financing almost prevents it. Fernando Castro Prado, mathematician and president of the association Quintescience, who organized the selection of the participating students, the committee regrets the lack of willingness to support science: "I had to go with the hat to various autonomous institutions, delegations, foundations... it Is very frustrating to look for sponsors and that people treat you with disdain impressive, almost as if you were asking for the money for you."

The non-profit association that represents the scientific gallego, 24 years old, began as a group of approximately 130 participants from previous olympics scientific. From 2017 it is joined to "support the dissemination of scientific information and motivate young people interested in science". "It is a pity that in Spain someone who wants to devote himself to science have to rethink or to emigrate", he criticizes. The team of the IES Aramo got almost 10,000 euros necessary of five entities: the ministry of education of Asturias, the College of veterinarians of asturias, the Fundación EDP, Interactive Media and the collaboration of a philanthropist Swedish.


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"Quintescience was essential for us to compete. You have worked hard and dedicated many hours without charging nothing," says professor Fernandez. Castro and 25 other scientists of the collective were commissioned to do the selection tests of young Spanish people in nine autonomous communities and create an online platform with the content of the Olympiad, which then would be teaching the new teachers. "We had to adapt that agenda is so advanced in just three weeks", he explains. At the time of the recess, and stretching the hollow-free between the school, the asturians found a way to prepare for the three phases in which is divided the contest, which combined tests of theoretical and practical examinations of four hours.

The mathematical highlights the parity in the selection tests. In the national phase, of the almost one thousand selected, half of them were girls. And of the six Spanish students who eventually competed in Qatar, two are girls, two of the IES Aramo. Fernandez, who brings more than 27 years in the world of education, in the THAT and Degree, note that the insecurities in girls in the scientific arena start later. "When I proposed to them to join the contest there were many that were encouraged. I get the feeling that these complexes begin when they are older, from bachelor. Before you all feel as capable as them," he says.

this is Not the first time that Aparicio compete. He has participated in two other olympics: chemistry and mathematics. "I imagine that I like so much the science in part by my mother, but I've always liked the kills, and experience," says the teenager, hesitating between studying a degree in Computer science or Chemistry. His mother, Maria Garcia, is an industrial engineer and acknowledges that he thought a lot if to let it go to Qatar. "I never had ridden on a plane and less without us, but it was a great opportunity. It was a team with many chances to win," he recounts.

And for your professor won. "I do not pretend to take any merit to the medal of Lucy, but the three have worked great in a team," says Fernandez, who believes that the secret is the illusion. The asturian highlighted the way in which it is involved and how easy it is to work with people eager. "If the young people you listen to, you convey that illusion. The desire to learn are," he insists. "And then they share it between them. It was a pleasure to see them interacting with children that you're interested in science. It is not very common to speak of the atoms, the cells, the mitochondria, the genetic heritage...".

All repeated. Although Castro stresses: "things are achieved with institutional support and economic. As much as we are four pelagatos rompiéndonos the horns, is to fight against windmills. To return, we need funding." And Fernandez is questioned: "How are we going to leave to the talent and effort in our country?”.

Date Of Update: 25 December 2019, 19:00