North County High School junior Jack Andraka’s latest recognition takes him to Europe, where he was honored at the Vatican on Saturday, November 16, 2013, with the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award for his work on cancer research and early-detection methods.
Bishop Sciacca is the current Adjunct Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the second-highest court in the Roman Catholic Church – and he heads the Greek and Italian humanitarian organization that bears his name. Andraka was nominated for the award by Greek philosopher Catherine Nikou.
While in Vatican City, Andraka was scheduled for an informal meeting with Pope Francis.
After that short stay in Italy, Andraka flew to Berlin, Germany, where he is spending a week with the Max Planck Society promoting “open access” to taxpayer-funded scientific and medical journal research. Those items are now largely available only for those who can afford to pay the journal entry fees, which often makes it unaffordable for young researchers and science fair participants. Under Andraka’s plan, if the research was done using taxpayer funds, it would be available for free after a six-month embargo period.
The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization, according to its website. Since its establishment in 1948, 17 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.