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The winners of the competition on reports about great women scientists of the 19th and the 20th centuries are from Villa Aleman and Santiago

December 6, 2011

Articles about Rosalind Franklin, Eloísa Díaz Inzunza, Lise Meitner and Henrietta Leavitt were selected as winners of the competition organized by CEDENNA and the EXPLORA program of CONICYT, which invited high school students from all of Chile to research into and write about the contributions of women to the world of science.

There were two first place winners to the Contest for Reports on Great Women Scientists of the 19th and 20th centuries, for their quality, depth and the consideration of the themes. The winners were Ester Aranda Godoy from Hispano de Villa Alemana School, whose work dealt with Rosalind Franklin “Science and daily life cannot and should not be separated”, and María Josefina Lewin Velasco from Sagrados Corazones de Manquehue School from Vitacura, Santiago, with a report about the first Chilean woman doctor entitled: “Scientist, but a woman: Eloísa Díaz Insunza”.

The second place went to Carolina Carvajal Calderón of Hans Christian Andersen School in San Fernando, who wrote a report about Lise Meitner entitled “Science at War”; and third place went to Cleyton Cortés Ferreira from Gabriela Mistral School in Coquimbo, with the report “Henrietta Leavitt, the woman who broke the limits of the Universe”.

CEDENNA and EXPLORA also gave two honorable mention awards to Fernanda Flores Salazar from Patagonia College in Puerto Montt for her report about Rita Levi-Montalcini and Joseline Solar León from Los Cóndores de Alto Hospicio School for her report about Marie Curie.

Inspiring women scientists

The competition received a total of 458 reports from students in the first to the fourth years of high school in the 15 regions of the country, 65% of them written by girls and 35% by boys. Among the most often scientists cited were the Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry and Physics, Marie Curie, the biochemist Gertrude Belle Elion, the astronomer, María Mitchell, the pediatrician Virginia Apgar and the Chilean astronomer María Teresa Ruiz.

The director of the Center for the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CEDENNA), Dora Altbir, stated, “we are very enthusiastic about the response of the students. This is the second year that we have held this gender-related contest through which we show that science is an alternative profession for all women. In 2010 we received around 190 written works from all the regions of the country. We hope that initiatives like this help many youths in deciding to dedicate themselves to scientific research, where effort, perseverance and talent are key factors and are equally distributed between men and women”.

The director of the EXPLORA program of CONICYT, José Santiago Arellano, stated “we are pleased by the success of the contest, which shows the interest of young women and men in notable figures in science and technology and the contributions they have made, in particular in this year, 2011, in which we are celebrating the International Year of Women in Science, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Madame Curie receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Madame Curie was the person to receive two Nobel Prizes for two areas, chemistry and physics”.

In the coming days the winning reports will be made available at www.cedenna.cl and www.explora.cl

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