This Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RSEF) with BBVA Foundation Announced the winners of the 2020 Physics Prize, which recognizes the creativity, efforts and achievements of the best Spanish researchers in the field of science. All categories of the award will receive a reward of 50,000 euros.
In this version, the RSEF Medal has been awarded Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor of Physics, “The relevance and impact of his pioneering work on the physics of two-dimensional materials”, especially the discovery of superconductivity in the graphene spinning layer, is considered to be “according to the jury’s Meeting minutes, “This is the most important milestone in condensed matter physics in recent years.”
He discovered the so-called magic angle or graphene corner, a material that turns this material into a superconductor, which may open the door to more efficient and cheaper electricity production in the future.
For its part, NeusSabatéVizcarraThe ICREA research professor at the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (CNM-CSIC) won the Physics, Innovation and Technology Award for his “excellent science and technology, highlighting the pioneering vision and great creativity in the field of degradable batteries”.
These are paper batteries that are specifically used for disposable devices, such as for detection of pregnancy, drugs, diseases or pathogens (such as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19).
Outstanding young researchers
There are two winners in the young researcher category. In the “Theoretical Physics” category, Hector Gil MarinFrom the Universe Institute of the University of Barcelona, because of his “outstanding contributions to the analysis and interpretation of galaxy cartography, which has improved our understanding of the accelerated universe”, he has become “one of the most outstanding researchers in Barcelona” ”The field of cosmology of his generation.
In experimental physics Maria Jose Martinez PerezPh.D. from Aragon Institute of Nanoscience and Materials (CSIC-University of Zaragoza), “for his important contribution in the field of nanomagnetism”, especially for the development of “a new generation of more sensitive and versatile magnetic sensors” , In order to solve the research of nanomaterials of interest in the field of quantum computing.
In the teaching and dissemination of physics, the winner is the professor in university teaching. Antonio Gilao Pinella, From the University of Murcia (University of Murcia), because of its “teaching and dissemination of physics tasks are innovative and innovative”, it conducts a variety of activities, such as the establishment of solidarity workshops, organization of exhibitions, campus and science weeks and Guide the National Physics Olympiad.
In secondary education, the teacher Matilde Ariza Montes“Many activities to improve the teaching of physics and chemistry” by IES Pedro Espinosa from Antequera (Málaga), including various dissemination actions, scientific and historical heritage protection in the middle school education center and participation in multiple teaching innovations project.
The best article award in an RSEF publication won in the “teaching” category Fernando Ignacio Prada Perez Azpetia ÿ Jose Antonio Martinez PonsFor your article Energy bars and plasma balls make physics cool, “Explained the two primitive educational resources in a very convincing way, making the teaching of complex physical phenomena simpler and more attractive to students, thereby increasing their interest in physics.”
Finally, in the “disclosure” category, Antxon Alberdi, José L. Gómez, Iván Martí-Vidal and Eduardo RosFor your article Event Horizon Telescope: photographing the boundaries of the universe, It shows the acquisition of the first image of the shadow of a black hole in a “clear and passionate” way. This fascinating result is easily presented without ignoring the scientific rigor, covering historical, technical and scientific aspects, and Highlights Spain’s contribution to its achievements”.
The work of four award-winning physicists
The “Magic Corner” of Jarillo and Graphene
The career of Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the recipient of the RSEF Medal, includes many influential contributions, such as the development of new technologies for preparing two-dimensional materials. However, none of these works have a comparable correlation with the discovery of the following: the most famous material is graphene, if several sheets are stacked together and rotated at a certain angle at the same time (also called magic spin), they will rotate Into superconductivity. .
In 2018, the discovery was published in the magazine natural It caused a real storm in physics: “We took the graphene sheet, placed it on top of another, and then rotated them so that the angle between the two structures was only one degree,” Jarillo explained. “This angle is called the magic angle. Some theoretical physicists have predicted that if the plate is rotated like this, something will happen. We did the experiment and it took many years because it is not easy, andprosperity! , The material becomes superconducting. For us and everyone, this is a complete surprise.”
This discovery may help to understand high-temperature superconductivity, a phenomenon that has aroused the interest of physicists for decades, and may trigger a real energy revolution for more efficient and sustainable production of resistance-free The resistance opened the door.
In addition, it was found Magic angle opens the door to studying similar phenomena in other two-dimensional materials: “What excites me most is that there are whole physicists studying magic angle graphene and other similar systems. Jarillo said that many of the discoveries Among things, there are other properties of magic angle graphene, such as magnetism.
Jarillo graduated from the University of Valencia with a degree in physical sciences in 1999, and received a master’s degree in science from the University of California, San Diego in 2001, and then a doctorate from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) in 2005. He moved to Columbia University in the United States and moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008, where he obtained a permanent position in an exceptionally short period of time.
In 2012, Barack Obama awarded Jarillo the President’s Award for Young Scientists. The scholarship was awarded one million dollars to fund his research within five years. Subsequently, he also received other outstanding awards from the American Physical Society, such as the Barkley Prize, which is awarded annually to outstanding researchers in condensed matter physics, and earlier this year received the Wolf Prize in Physics from Israel.
Sabaté and its biodegradable paper battery
NeusSabaté is the recipient of the Physics, Innovation and Technology Award, and is the inventor of the first batch of paper batteries designed for disposable devices, such as pregnancy, drug or disease detection tests. They can even provide molecular diagnostic tests, such as those used to detect the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. These batteries are activated when they come in contact with the liquid to be analyzed, such as water or saliva.
Sabaté explained that she had this idea when she was taking the pregnancy test: “In 2012, I used a digital test to confirm my second pregnancy. After using it, I found that the instructions suggested to open the casing of the device and take it out. The battery, and then send it to the recycling bin. I want to know who will bother reading the instructions at the bottom of the page, try to open the test, take out the battery and recycle it. Suddenly, I have an idea: can urine produce energy? We can use test strips Should fuel cells be built on top of it? So that the battery does not need to be recycled anymore!”.
Sabaté studied physical sciences at the University of Barcelona and received a doctorate from the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (IMB-CSIC), where he discovered his passion for engineering. In 2014, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation won an award that allowed him to develop the world’s first biodegradable battery. A year later, it was awarded one of the prestigious and highly competitive “comprehensive grant” projects of the European Research Council (ERC), aimed at manufacturing sustainable batteries and batteries in diagnostic equipment.
In 2015, Sabaté co-founded Fuelium SL, the first paper battery company for diagnostic kits. Currently, Fuelium cooperates with a number of companies to integrate its batteries into equipment in the environmental monitoring, cosmetics and metallurgical industries. In addition, Fuelium has received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the production of paper batteries in portable diagnostic devices.
Fuelium was originally suggested as a potential product (due to its low price) that can be used to diagnose malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases in developing countries. Fuelium is now also studying its application in Covid-19. The goal is to make the device look similar to a pregnancy test, but can amplify the genetic material of the virus, and “can get results in less than 30 minutes.” In other words, it’s like classic PCR, but faster.
Regarding his research, in his ERC project, he has made progress in the development of sensor equipment, in which the energy of the fluid itself can provide the required measurement value: a method that uses energy in the blood to measure glucose A level of blood glucose meter may be useful for diagnosing diabetes in developing countries; disposable patches can diagnose cystic fibrosis in infants through sweat. Both prototypes have been awarded by the European Organic Electronics Association (OEA).
Jill Marin’s Milky Way Map
Héctor Gil-Marín (Héctor Gil-Marín) is the recipient of the Young Research Award in Theoretical Physics, dedicated to galaxy mapping, a field that aims to reveal the reasons for the accelerated expansion of the universe. “We observe galaxies, their distribution in the universe, the structures and patterns they form. The farther they are, the closer we are to the past universe.” Gil explained. The accelerated expansion of the universe discovered in 1998 began about 6 billion years ago, which contradicts the current understanding of the laws of physics.
Gil-Marín played a key role in the so-called BOSS and eBOSS mapping conducted between 2009 and 2019. More than 100 astrophysicists participated in the creation of the largest 3D map in the universe and measured Its expansion in more than 11 regions is one billion years. The work of the young award-winning researcher includes interpreting data from galaxies to calibrate distances, such as the so-called BAO peaks (phonon baryon oscillations), pressure waves passing through the plasma of the early universe, and drawing conclusions based on this. About the expansion of the universe.
Martinez and the quantum computer
María José Martínez-Pérez (María José Martínez-Pérez) won the Experimental Physics Young Research Award. The company has developed a new generation of ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors that can conduct high-precision research on the magnetic properties of nanomaterials. He said: “They have special characteristics, such as strong magnetic fields, and are interesting for various applications themselves.”
The type of nanomaterials this young researcher is studying may be useful for the development of quantum computing, which is expected to open the door to the creation of computers with much greater computing power than current ones. Martínez-Pérez explained, “These materials can transmit information between qubits, for example.”