The Amazing Meeting 2014

Like it? Share it!

Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



Winners! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

hungaryfGyula Staar, editor of Természet Világa, the Hungarian science journal that has served the academic community of that country for 140 years, has written to inform me of the last two winners of the annual Randi Prize which is given to students who show appropriately skeptical approaches to claims and statements that they encounter in the news. The prize was first awarded back in 1992, when I visited Hungary, and has continued since, though with a few gaps because the journal did not find applicants of sufficient talent to justify the award. That principle - granting an award only when it's justified - is the way such matters should be handled. The journal holds a student essay competition on the first Saturday of March every year at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the awards are presented by my friend Professor Gyula Bencze.

The 2008 winner was Imre Gábor Kovács of the Széchenyi István Gymnasium in Sopron. The title of his essay was "Sweet Poison", and he described how certain artificial sweeteners are declared to be hungarympoisonous by some companies, by using pseudoscientific arguments. In 2009 the prize went to Andrea Pálfi,  of the Krúdy Gyula Gymnasium, Nyíregyháza, with her essay titled: "Radiesthesia: Harmful environmental effect, or fake?" (Radiesthesia is the term for "dowsing" in Europe.)

Editor Staar is dedicated to recognizing and encouraging young Hungarians who show originality and curiosity - indications of possible scientific aspirations, and I happily support his efforts to promote Hungary's contributions to knowledge. He wrote me:

I can promise that as long as I am the editor-in-chief of the journal, talented students will have a role in the dissemination of science.

Now, that's a community-oriented editor, with no time for Ivory Tower retreats and with a responsible, active, role in his country's future! I look forward to next year's competition, and I hope to visit Hungary again later this year.

Trackback(0)
Comments (10)Add Comment
..., Lowly rated comment [Show]
...
written by MadScientist, March 25, 2009
I wish there were contests like that when I was growing up. The only contests I'd joined (and won) were terribly dull; for me it was a matter of coming up with something insubstantial but which would make the not-so-intelligent judges go "ooh! aaah!" The contest only ran two years; I won it both years, put in an entry in the third year, and was told that the school had decided to axe the contest because I kept winning and really didn't have any competitors. (I walked away choking while trying not to laugh out loud.) Since I attended a catholic school, I suspect that contests involving actual thinking would have been prohibited.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +4
Wonderful
written by Bart B. Van Bockstaele, March 25, 2009
It is just great that this happens.

I went to a Catholic school as well, MadScientist. We had an essay writing contest when I was in third grade. My school teacher, Mr. Bode, announced that I was the winner, and the the affair was quietly put down. I later found out I was the "cause." Apparently, their independent judges had chosen my essay as a winner, against the wishes of the school. We were free to chose the subject of our essay, but they didn't like my subject. Everyone had written something about sports or a holiday, I had written a text about the environment, something that concerned me greatly, because we lived in Brugge (Belgium). It was a stinking, neglected city at the time. So, we were free to write anything we wanted, just not about what they wanted. Very Catholic.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +4
in Brugge!
written by BillyJoe, March 25, 2009
Have you seen the film?
If you haven't, I highly recommend it.

...except that it was spelled differently: "In Bruges"

BTW, my first post was a harmless joke and didn't really deserve 17 negative votes. Lighten up everyone.

Well, okay, it was because I've never won ANYTHING. smilies/sad.gif

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -9
...
written by tctheunbeliever, March 26, 2009
BillyJoe, how does YOUR Yearbook picture look? smilies/cry.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +5
...
written by BillyJoe, March 26, 2009
BillyJoe, how does YOUR Yearbook picture look?

Well okay, but I was a mad Led Zeppelin fan in those days.
I tried my best to lok like Robert Plant.



smilies/cheesy.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Blizno, March 28, 2009
Of the two contestants, you only showed a picture of the pretty one. Why didn't you show a picture on your "front page" of the plain contestant?

Must you appeal to the amygdalas of your readers? This is a blog about reason. Why corrupt it with pictures of pretty people trumping pictures of equally important, less-pretty people?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by BillyJoe, March 28, 2009
There's something wrong with you Blizno.
I can see them both plain as day.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2
...
written by Caller X, March 29, 2009
Two words. Sha winnnnnnggggg!!!!! That Imre is hot! I would put stones to him in a heartbeat.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by DanaC, March 10, 2011
I imagine it is even tougher to discuss opposing points of view in some countries that are less tolerant of individualism. It seems like many countries are moving away from toleration of alternative views, which is scary. Some countries no longer permit the wearing of religious jewelry , as an example of repression of ideas. It is nice to see an organization reward youth for thinking outside the box.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy