CERNland/Prince of Asturias competition winners tour CERN

Last week, the Laboratory rolled out the red carpet for the six young winners of the CERNland/Prince of Asturias competition. From a visit of the CMS detector to dessert with the Director-General, these young talents were given the full VIP treatment. Nothing less would do for our winners!


The competition's youngest winners study the CMS detector.

For the CERNland/Prince of Asturias competition winners, Easter 2014 would be unforgettable. Besides visits to all the main CERN landmarks, they attended an award ceremony in the Main Building in their honour. Among the audience were CERN Director-General, Rolf Heuer, the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ana Maria Menendez Perez, and the Director of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, Teresa Sanjurjo González.

The ceremony was also an opportunity for the CERN community to interact with the young winners. “They brought with them such heartfelt enthusiasm,” says CERN’s Isabel Béjar Alonso, who accompanied them throughout their visit and was one of the driving forces behind the competition. “Not only was seeing their faces when they visited the CMS experiment a highlight, but also hearing them ask who had made the experiment, who worked together there – it rekindled my own enthusiasm. We all saw the experiment through the eyes of a child.”

The winners of the CERNland/Prince of Asturias competition shared their thoughts with the Bulletin during the award ceremony:

“I never imagined something like this could happen. It is... too much! Coming to this place where people are doing such impressive things, where people are so talented... that they went out of their way to read and see all of our works... I can only give my most heartfelt of thanks.” - Quillaccori García López (16 years old), IES "Lancia", León.

“What she said! I am so thankful to be here, I really didn't expect it. I love painting and, for my submission to the contest, I drew a family who could travel to space on holiday. The competition was a fantastic opportunity and I am very thankful.” - Anna Salut Esteve Domínguez (17 years old), IES Bernat Guinovart, Algemesí, Valencia.

“I can hardly believe I am here. Even on the plane, I could barely believe it. So, yes, I am very excited to be here. It was something I had dreamed about, as I had been interested in seeing what CERN was like. I had imagined it, of course, but it still surprised me.” - Pedro García Gómez (15 years old), Colegio Sagrado Corazón, Zaragoza.

“I am very thankful for this competition... Fin!” - Sofía Isabella Villamizar Villegas (7 years old), Colegio Público Gesta I., Oviedo.

“I am super excited to be a winner of this competition and am super happy! Thanks!” - Rocío Lahuerta Blanco (9 years old), CEIP Puente de Simancas, Simancas, Valladolid.

“The visit to CMS was, of course, what struck me most. Being next to one of the detectors that discovered the Higgs boson would amaze anyone who likes physics. The award ceremony was also very emotional - there were some wonderful speeches. Overall, this competition has been a great adventure.” - Ana Villanueva Ruiz de Temiño (15 years old), Colegio Sansueña, Zaragoza.

Read more about the winners in “The CERN 'Concurso' spreads particle physics all over Spain” and find out how the competition came into being in “A competition for budding Spanish scientists is launched” in the CERN Bulletin.

by Katarina Anthony