RSEF and BBVA Foundation give awards to Spanish physicists who are opening the door to the “nanoworld”


The Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RSEF) and the BBVA Foundation have once again partnered to recognize the most prominent scientific achievements in Spain. Offering a total cash prize of 50,000 euros, the Spanish Physics Awards are given in recognition of top-level research; motivate younger scientists; and foster the relationship between physics and education and business. These awards strengthen the commitment of the BBVA Foundation with science and represent a channel through which to support researchers that are able to create new materials and fight diseases.

Are there atoms with properties that can be compared to graphene? Is it possible to assemble an analysis lab inside a chip? Is it possible to create a flexible solar cell? With their findings regarding the scale of atoms and molecules, the winners of the Spanish Physics Awards have been able to answer these questions and are now developing all kinds of innovative solutions.

For example, Ángel Rubio Secades won the Medal given by the Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RSEF) for being the “creator of a calculation program that is widely used by hundreds of research groups across the world and, as such, becoming one of the most influential physicists of the last 10 years.” His research is playing a key role in developing materials with new properties since the behavior of matter can now be understood and predicted on a scale of 1,000th of a millimeter, or nanoscale.

Laura Lechuga Gómez, Research Professor at CSIC and Director of the Biosensor and Bioanalytical Applications Group of the CN2 (Instituto Catalán de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología), has won the Physics, Innovation and Technology Award. The jury remarked on her career as a researcher of biosensors and how she has been able to walk the “path from idea to product extremely successfully. Her work combines high-quality science with the development of productive technologies and their transfer to the business system.”

The Young Researcher in Theoretical Physics and Young Researcher in Experimental Physics Awards recognize researchers that are less than 30 years of age when the call for the awards is sent out. This year, the winners are Alejandro Manjavacas Arévalo in Theoretical Physics and Andrés Castellanos Gómez in Experimental Physics. As for the Awards for Teaching and Disseminating Physics at the University and High School Levels, which recognize dedication to teaching, pedagogy and collaboration with the RSEF, have been given to Rafael García Molina (University) and Fernando de Prada Pérez de Azpeitia (High School). Andrés Redondo Cubero from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid won the Award for Best Dissemination Paper in RSEF publications, “Ion Channeling in Crystals: When the Shadow of Atoms Allows you to detect Defects” (La canalización iónica en cristales: cuando la sombra de los átomos permite detectar defectos).