Elena Andra Muntean, a Research Fellow in the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queens University of Belfast, struck Silver at a competition in the House of Commons, for the excellence of her physics research, walking away with a £2,000 prize.
Elena presented her physics research to dozens of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition SET for Britain, on Monday 9 March.
Her research, on dust and ice and the birthplace of new molecules in interstellar and interplanetary space as a result of low energy ion irradiation, was judged against 29 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out second.
Elena said, “I am so pleased that the research we do at Queens University of Belfast was highly appreciated at this competition in the House of Commons and really look forward to taking my success back to my research group.”
SET for Britain aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.
Prof. Alan Fitzsimmons from ARC said “This is a tremendous achievement. It is recognition of Elena's dedication and enthusiasm in setting up her investigations on the link between the original interstellar ices that went into forming the Solar system, and what we see on distant bodies beyond the planet Neptune.”
Dr Frances Saunders, President of the Institute of Physics, said, “SET for Britain is a great opportunity for some of the country’s most impressive scientific talent to show off their research to politicians from across the UK. I hope every exhibitor feels incredibly proud to have had their research shortlisted, and excited to show it off.”
Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, sponsors of the Silver Medal, said, “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.
“These early career scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”
The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with the Council for Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Biology and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Essar, INEOS, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Wiley, the Bank of England and the Institute of Biomedical Science.