Issue 14 News

The Scientist in Me: Apples, popcorn, memory and fireworks

­čĽĺ 3 min

In the past year or so, the importance of science communication has become clearer than ever, and the need for great science communication ever so stronger. Becaues of this, we’re especially glad that the competition The Scientist in Me was held again this year, although completely online.

The Scientist in Me has brought some news this year, the most significant of which being, without a doubt, our new, separately ranked category Original research where competitors need to carry out research by themselves, write a paper about it and, as always, present it – although, their presentations can be somewhat longer.

Because we’re still in a pandemic, we couldn’t meet in person, so we moved our finale to Zoom this year, where we gathered on the 11th of June and enjoyed 12 brilliant presentations by competitors.

This is a Facebook video embed, which sometimes doesn’t show up, depending on your browser settings. Click here to watch on Facebook.


In our science communication categories, the winning presentation was Why does popcorn pop? by Simona Lukman and Dora Bratko from ─îakovec, who were awarded with a Huawei tablet. You can watch their application at

Sometimes we don’t even think about how some seemingly ordinary things can have a very complex background. Most of us probably never thought about why does popcorn pop and what’s their structure, so with our video we try to show people – in a fun, but informative way – everything that’s behind the scenes of our favorite snacks while watching movies and hanging out with friends.

In Original research, the winning paper was The impact of temperature on the antioxidant capacity of apples by Jan ┼ápiclin from Vara┼żdin, who was awarded with a pair of AirPods Pro and S3++ participation (which was unfortunately cancelled) You can watch his application at The jury applauded the quality of his research, as well as the ambitiousness of it. With an average jury rating of 4.975 out of 5, he’s the best rated participant yet.

You have a lot of apples nearby and don’t think you can manage eating them before they go bad? Don’t worry, you can always cook them and make a compote, or freeze them, but will that change their antioxidant properties? Will they still be as useful to your body as when they were fresh? If this topic seems interesting to your everyday life, read the paper, listen to the video and learn something about the methods in a biology laboratory along the way.

The second place in science communication categories was won by Matteo Zausnig and Matea Butorac from Rijeka with the work The Chemistry of Fireworks, while the second place in Original research went to Dora ┼ápoler from Po┼żega, who applied with the topic Short-term memory. Both were awarded with a Wacom drawing tablet.

Last, but definitely not least – the third place in science communication categories went to Viktorija Kelemen and Ivana Fulir from Ivanec who applied with the topic Lava lamp, while in Original research the third-place went to the paper Public opinion research about sports violence by Laura Babi─ç and Magdalena ┼ápar from Split. Both teams were awarded with a JBL Go 3 speaker.

Notes on the future

The competitors on this year’s edition of The Scientist in Me were highly ambitious and devoted, and their applications were among the best yet, despite the state of affairs we all find ourselves in. We wish to continue encouraging such ambition, devotion, quality and creativity, which is why we’re actively working on bringing some new things to the competition which we hope to introduce next year.

Until then, bye!

By Mario Borna Mjertan

Mario Borna Mjertan is a student of mathematics at the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. He serves as Project Director for Znanstvenik u meni! and actively works on science popularisation projects such as ZUM, S3++ and other projects.

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