16 year old Greek student Marialina Tsinidi, has been awarded twice by the European Space Agency (ESA) for three space experiments that she conducted through the aerospace company Blue Origin.
Marialina is now writing scientific research papers for prestigious publications, as well as a children's physics book, in order to fund her next space station project through the aerospace company Nanoracks.
All of this, at the tender age of 16.
The scientific background and deep knowledge on space and universe is evident in Marialina’s work, while her ambitions for the future and positive thinking that there are countless possibilities out there, differentiate her from most of her peers.
Her love for physics, and especially for astronomy and theoretical sciences, began at the age of 9.
It all started as a simple attraction towards science, which she discovered while skipping through scientific books after a visit to the Athens’ planetarium.
“Honestly, there are no words to describe why I'm interested in these areas. But what I can say is that physics and mathematics are more than just a science, they are a way of thinking for me” she explained in an interview with Insider.gr.
Marialina immediately became more interested in the field of astrophysics, and at age 13 she decided to take advantage of her inclination towards science and to dedicate her time studying and learning about space.
Her journey so far has been “the most demanding but also rewarding experience” of her life, as she claimed in her interview.
“My first experiment studied olive oil in zero gravity conditions. As a team leader for the Kalamata Students Space Program, I had undertaken the communication and information about the progress of our experiment, with the aerospace company Nanoracks and Blue Origin.
"Professor of aerospace and project manager, Dr. Takis Papadopoulos, also had a decisive role in this study.”
Her next two experiments were on the study of honey viscosity (spACS1) and the reactions of foams and emulsions (spACS2) at zero gravity.
Marialina conducted these experiments with the team of the American Community Schools of Athens and under the guidance of the professor of astrophysics. Dr. Carabella, again through Nanoracks.
Marialina’s involvement with astrophysics soon brought her important awards and recognition, as she proudly represented Greece in various international competitions.
*Marialina Tsinidi 📷 ESA Facebook page
“What made me very proud is when I was awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and I was invited to present my work at the Living Planet Symposium 2019 in Milan, with a full scholarship, and with the Rafina Space Team” she said.
“We won the 2nd place for Greece against 118 other schools from around the world participating in the competition.”
After this experience, she decided to propose that her institution, the Moraitis school (a private school in Athens for elementary, middle-school and high-school grades), join more international competitions.
Her school happily supported her idea and supplied her with all the required equipment, and helped her, as she explained, to win her second prize.
“With our physics teacher, Dr. Karoumbali, in the Spring of 2020 and for the second year in a row, my team called Floods and Wildfires Explorers was awarded by ESA, for the work related to the effects of floods.”
Marialina’s achievements were noticed by many people of the scientific world, especially by her teacher and mentor, Ms. Tina Nantsou, who played a leading role in her education and career in astrophysics, and who chose her as assistant in teaching students theoretical physics at the National Observatory of Athens (Playing with Protons, CERN).
Marialina's experiences so far have led the young student to the next step of her short, but grand career, for which she has been seeking funding.
“The Nanoracks mission manager believed I was capable enough, and suggested that I do my own experiment on the International Space Station (ISS), which is very honourable for me, because these experiments are usually happening only from American universities and NASA” she highlighted.
Marialina’s idea for her project this time is to study the viability of bacteria on the Space Station, and whether the bacteria under study can survive in certain conditions.
“This idea impressed Nanoracks and for a year now I have been working on a new goal. I have studied and done the relevant research, I have also designed the mechanism in AutoCAD, so that I have material for the continuation of the research” she pointed out.
“Finally, I have already done research and laboratory study for my experiment, Space Line M, to compare the results of the reaction of bacteria to these conditions” Marialina added.
Although the current circumstances with the pandemic are making the work and research on her project even harder, Marialina has decided to not let go of her goals, showing her true passion and determination.
Moreover, she has stated that even the cost of her upcoming experiment, which reaches the amount of 13,000 euros, will not stand in the way of her plans.
For this reason, she has created a crowdfunding page, looking for sponsors and has already raised a small amount of money for the research.
As she told Insider.gr, this experiment is not the only project she has in the works at the moment.
Her short-term plans also include the publication of her research papers in approved foreign journals, as well as the writing of a book.
“I am writing a physics book for children, because I would like to inspire others to get involved in this field, just I was inspired when I was little,” she mentioned.
Another project that the ambitious teenager has been working on is organizing a global student conference to bring people together, discuss important topics and give all proceeds to a good cause that is close to her heart.
“After the tragic explosion with dozens of dead in Lebanon, I decided to set up a global student online conference, Model United Nations, to discuss COVID-19. All the proceeds from the student participation will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross.”
Her proposal has already received the approval of the United Nations and the conference will be attended by children from around the world, as well as distinguished academics such as Dr. Christos Zerefos, Dr. Dionysis Simopoulos and Dr. Nikolaos Sypsas, who are well-known professionals with multiple achievements in the scientific world.
As for her long-term plans, she is hoping to still be “immersed” in the study of theoretical physics and applied mathematics, as well as data analysis and astrobiology. Since this field is highly developed in schools in the US, her goal is to study in one of the well-known universities in the western continent, in order to help further develop this field.
“I would like to warmly thank all those who have stood by me and supported me during all my research, projects and study. Also, I want to send a big 'thank you' to WIND Hellas for supporting me in every project I have worked on. Of course, I am very focused on my goals, but I believe that even when I am making mistakes, I am learning something new” she said.
“I am excited to try new things, whether I win or lose, and through this process I can improve my skills,” Marialina said gratefully with the combined innocence of a 16-year-old girl and the maturity of a well-rounded, academic adult.
Find Marialina Tsinidi's fund page here: https://www.giveandfund.com/giveandfund/project/Marialina4Space
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World-acclaimed astrophycicist resigns from Hellenic Space Agency