The winner is .....

Nikolas Bregovic
Nikola Bregovic works at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Zagreb. Let's find out more about him.

What did you study?

I finished Gymnasium in Cakovec, small town in the north of Croatia, and studied chemistry in Zagreb.

Almost immediately after receiving my BSc diploma in 2009 I started working as research assistant in the Laboratory for Physical Chemistry at the University of Zagreb, the same lab I did my diploma. Thereby I started working on my PhD thesis in the field of supramolecular chemistry.

Getting this job was fantastic for me, since this enabled me to follow my passion for science and also be involved in teaching.

How did you find out about the RSC Mpemba competition?

My friend Ivan-Goran sent me an e-mail with the link about the contest preceding the words "This might be of interest to you...". Needless to say, I was immediately intrigued and started to read about Mpemba effect and soon conducted the first experiments.

I was very lucky to be in a very open and friendly environment and I am thankful to my mentor prof. Tomisic who encouraged me to proceed with the investigations along with my other work, and didn't mind me using any of the equipment in the lab. 

Of course my other close colleges and friends participated in numerous discussions on the subject, some even allowing me to expand the instrumentation and helping me designing the experiments in the process, thus bringing me step by step closer to the solution of the problem. 

It was really interesting to observe how stunned people were when I was telling them about the Mpemba effect, and how easy it was to awake a scientist in most of them when discussing the matter. I must also say that some of them believed in my work much more than I did myself. These were of course my parents and my love Vesna.

What do you think about the competition overall?

I was stunned by the scope this project of the RSC took and was really glad to find so many people all over the world were interested and participated in it. 

This really pointed out the power of human curiosity and their urge for understanding the world around them.

What will you do with the prize money?

I will spend it wisely! Firstly, this award deserves a celebration with all people that were beside me and after this; I think there will be some left for a trip or two to the mountains or a river in the spring if we find the time.

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Read about Nikola's entry in more detail:

Short explanation:

"The statement by J. D. Brownridge, "Hot water will freeze before cooler water only when the cooler water supercools, and then, only if the nucleation temperature of the cooler water is several degrees lower than that of the hot water. Heating water may lower, raise or not change the spontaneous freezing temperature," summarizes in great part the conclusions that may be drawn from almost all the data I have collected myself and others presented earlier. However, the effect of convection, which enhances the probability of warmer water freezing first should be emphasized in order to express a more complete explanation of the effect.

"The fact that this effect is not fully resolved to this day, was an indication to me that fundamental problems lie underneath it, but still I did not expect to find that water could behave in such a different manner under so similar conditions. Once again this small, simple molecule amazes and intrigues us with it's magic."