A starry-eyed breakfast in Almeria

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CAPTIVATED: Students nattering with Nobel Prize winner Rainer Weiss (centre left) ©@JAstronomica/Twitter

A SELECTION of students enjoyed a once in the lifetime opportunity to have breakfast with a Nobel Prize scientist at the weekend.

Secondary school science pupils met with Nobel prize winner, Rainer Weiss, last Saturday, ahead of a University of Almeria ceremony where Weiss will receive a special doctor ‘Honoris Causa’ award, local media reports.

Weiss, 84, won the Nobel prize in 2017 alongside colleagues for observing gravitational waves. The discovery brings humanity a step closer to unravelling the mystery of how the universe was formed.

The lucky six were Sophia, Antonio, Pedro, Paula, Elena and Maria del Carmen, from the La Salle secondary school in Almeria city.

They said the event was: “A luxury, a privilege, which we probably won’t be able to have again.”

Students shared their concerns, doubts and curiosities with the Nobel prize winner during a conversation which flowed so well it overran by an hour.

The keen young scientists were especially curious about why Weiss was motivated to become a scientist.

And the American professor also enthusiastically answered a raft of other questions including how he felt upon making his major discovery, how close we are to finding out what happened during the big bang, among many others.

Weiss, who escaped Nazi Germany as a young boy, dotted the responses with anecdotes, advice and passionate explanations.

It was a “golden opportunity” for the pupils to meet directly and up-close with a Nobel prize winner, Antonio Galindo, the students’ teacher, said.

They are brilliant science students with a good standard of English, Galindo added.

Weiss has a very busy agenda, but when we asked him to meet with the youngsters, he agreed on the spot and said time was not an issue.”

The German-born professor will receive a special recognition of his contributions to the field of Physics today at 1pm in the University of Almeria’s main hall.

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