Scholarships for most talented scientists awarded at Warsaw Royal Castle

Annual scholarships for 100 talented Polish scientists were awarded by the Foundation for Polish Science on Sunday.

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The ceremony took place in the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The annual scholarships of PLN 28,000 (EUR 6,500) were awarded to the laureates of the START programme, Poland’s largest scholarship programme for outstanding scientists under the age of 30.

One of the laureates, Michał Parniak from the University of Warsaw’s Centre of New Technologies, studies quantum optics and quantum memory capable of storing photons. He explained that this method could lead to a new way of data transmission, similar to optical fibres but safer.

“If someone attempted to eavesdrop on our conversation we would know about this immediately because, in a great simplification, this is possible when one is using just one photon,” Michał Parniak said. “This idea is a basis for many protocols but they require a real source of single photons. The source that we have created is capable of generating single photons travelling at high speed.”

Dr Natalia Kowalczyk from the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities studies neuroplasticity - the brain’s capability to change itself due to new experiences. Her research focused on observing brain activity among computer players. “I have noticed that those who play computer games regularly had different brain structures compared to those who don’t do it at all. The parts of their brains responsible for attention, focus, and observation are better developed, meaning those that are used in real life,” Dr Kowalczyk said. Her findings could be utilised in dementia treatment.

So far, over 3,000 young Polish scientists have been awarded PLN 82 mln (EUR 19.1 mln) in total by the START programme.