The CERN “Concurso” spreads particle physics all over Spain

Launched in December last year by CERN in collaboration with the Prince of Asturias Foundation, the competition involved hundreds of young and very young students in Spain. The six winners will visit CERN in April.


“This initiative was intended to raise awareness about particle physics, CERN and science in general,” says CERN’s Isabel Béjar Alonso, a member of the Spanish physics community and one of the driving forces behind the initiative. “The feedback we have received is extremely positive and we are very happy that the competition was so successful!”

Organised using a portion of the prize-money associated with the prestigious award that CERN received in 2013 from the Prince of Asturias Foundation, the contest succeeded in the challenge of inspiring a large number of schools, teachers and pupils (see box). “We received hundreds of contributions from all over Spain and for each age range, in the form of drawings, photos, videos and text,” says Isabel. “I was amazed by the enthusiasm that young kids showed throughout, from the launch to the voting, as well as the large amounts of spontaneous feedback received via the e-mail address.”

Teachers have been particularly grateful to the organisers of the contest because this was a concrete opportunity for them to bring these topics into their classroom. “We want to keep the momentum generated by the initiative as high as possible,” continues Isabel, “and offer schools that had a finalist the opportunity to host a talk by a scientist from CERN or CPAN (Centro Nacional de Física de Partículas, Astropartículas y Nuclear, Spain). The other schools may send us their requests and we will try to accommodate them.”

The contest was also much appreciated by parents, who actively supported their children in their participation. “Parents really wanted their kids to win the competition,” confirms Isabel. “They were spreading the information and invited their relatives to vote for their child’s contribution!”

The six winners (see box for details), treated like stars in their schools and local communities, will now be offered a trip to CERN. Given the success of the initiative, the organisers are evaluating the possibility of organising it again next year and perhaps also involving Latin American countries.

CERNland world map distribution of hits.

“Concurso” facts and figures

  • 1,400 entries, from 49 of the 50 Spanish provinces.
  • More than 450 teachers and 400 schools.
  • More than 200,000 pages viewed since the start of the contest from all around the world.
  • Some entries have been viewed more than 5000 times.
  • The event was covered by TV, radio and press.


The Winners’ Podium

The competition was open to pupils aged 6 to 18, broken down into the following categories: Primaria, ESO and Bachillerato. Each contribution was submitted in one of two formats: Drawing/Photo/Video and/or Story/News/Article. The popular jury and the expert committee awarded prizes to the following works:


  • Sofía Isabella Villamizar Villegas (7 years old), Colegio Público Gesta I., Oviedo
  • Ana Villanueva Ruiz de Temiño (15 years old), Colegio Sansueña, Zaragoza
  • Anna Salut Esteve Domínguez (17 years old), IES Bernat Guinovart, Algemesí, Valencia


  • Rocío Lahuerta Blanco (9 years old), CEIP Puente de Simancas, Simancas, Valladolid
  • Pedro García Gómez (15 years old), Colegio Sagrado Corazón, Zaragoza
  • Quillaccori García López (16 years old), IES "Lancia", León


by Antonella Del Rosso