Posted on: 2nd November 2009

picture of winner EUCYS 2008

Hélèna Lacroix, winner of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Last week JET opened its doors to greet young scientist Hélèna Lacroix. As JET supports the EIROforum, an organisation comprised of seven parties all aiming to co-operate in terms of scientific education and research, the site is able to offer young scientists a glimpse of the work here at Culham and welcome them to enjoy the learning experience that nuclear fusion can offer.

Hélèna, 19; from Dijon in France, won a week’s work experience at JET for her prize in the 2008 European Union Contest of Young Scientists (EUCYS). The annual contest, held in Copenhagen, aims to find the best in student scientific achievement throughout Europe. Hélèna’s prize came for her in depth study concerning the phenomenon observed in every body’s cup of coffee, related to ‘Benard Von Karman vortices’. Determined to bring the phenomenon to light, Helena, then aged 16; and her friend Marion Deriot, made endless measurements and experiments to support their study. Over the next two years, Hélèna presented her project at three consecutive national competitions, in which she won first prize for each and was awarded a place at the EUCYS contest in Copenhagen.
Becoming familiar with the project presentations in France, Hélèna then faced the daunting challenge of exhibiting her work across the continent. As the plane touched down in Scandinavia, Hélèna prepared for her most important exhibition to date; as she represented her country at the 20th edition of EUCYS. Following her previous fashion, Hélèna won the ‘firm award’ in which she was offered a week’s work experience at EFDA-JET, rounding off a successful 3 years of study.

Hélèna says: “I heard a lot about fusion and how it is organised. One of my favourite experiences was to work with the MASCOT of the Remote Handling system. I managed to rebuild a cube consisting of various pieces remotely and John Wilkinson, who showed me around, told me I could apply for the job immediately! During my stay everybody looked after me and was very friendly. Thank you for this interesting experience.”