Maya Samuels. 'So excited'
Photo: Effie Sharir

Israeli girl to address Nobel winners

Maya Samuels, 18, among 24 young scientists from all around the world invited to present their high school research work to this year's Nobel Prize laureates in Sweden

Maya Samuels, 18, of the northern community of Yesod Hama'ala, is so excited she has been having trouble sleeping in the past few days.


Instead, she devotes every available moment to rehearse the lecture she will be giving Nobel Prize laureates in Sweden in about 10 days.


Samuels, who graduated from the Har Veguy High School in Kibbutz Dafna last summer, has been chosen to represent Israel in a gathering of young scientists from all around the world, who will present their research work to the 2011 Nobel Prize winners.


She was invited to the event thanks to a unique method she developed, which prevents paint from fading. This discovery carries important implications in the fields of art, textile, the coloring of exterior surfaces and printing.


Samuels conducted the research, under the guidance of Prof. Giora Ritbo, as part of her studies at the Science Education Center for Youth at Tel Hai College. Her discovery was selected out of 76 term papers of Israeli students at the Davidson Institute at the Weizman Institute of Science.


She will be joining 23 outstanding young scientists from all around the world, who have been chosen to present their work to the Nobel laureates.


'Fascinating cultural experience'

Samuels got the idea for the study after reading that in Central America in the sixth century, clay stones were used to paint objects. Archeologists who found those items were found in excavations discovered that the clay had maintained its original color.


Samuels decided to combine the clay with organic paint, hoping that would solve the discoloration problem.


"It all started when my school decided not to open a chemistry class for the 10th grade, after only two students expressed an interest in the field. I studied physics and computer science, and decided to take chemistry classes at the Science Education Center for Youth at Tel Hai College.


"I was fascinated by this field and chose to use it for my term paper. Discoloration is a serious problem in the paint industry. The color fades due to a photochemical reaction created by light. My work looked into a solution for the problem by linking paint to clay minerals.


"When I applied for the competition I didn't think I would win," Samuels admits, "but I said to myself that this was an excellent opportunity to present my work to scientists.


"The Stockholm ceremony will be a good opportunity to meet people from all around the world who are involved in research, and it will likely be a fascinating cultural experience. This will be the first time I address such a big audience, and I'm slightly excited."


Samuels will have at least one supporter among the crowd: Prof. Dan Shechtman of the Technion, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


"I know that I'll be very excited when they invite him to accept the award," she says. "I'll try to reach him and congratulate him for the long journey he made and for this great achievement."


Dr. Irit Sasson, director of the Science Education Center for Youth at Tel Hai College, says that "while working on the project, Maya was exposed to scientific working methods and tools, and combined the study of relevant scientific content, relevant literature and practical research."



פרסום ראשון: 11.30.11, 07:36
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