Meet the winner of the NASA competition about colonies outside the Earth - Success Stories Magazine
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Ivan Popop astronomy student in germany
Ivan Belchev

About physics and astronomy

Interview with Ivan Popov

He is part of the team that won the Grand Prix in the NASA competition about colonies outside the Earth. Currently he studies physics, first semester at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Ivan Belchev for Success Stories Mag:
What success have you achieved so far?

Ivan Popov:
I have contribution in physics and mathematics at national level, but personally important to me are my two participations in the NASA competition for project and design of space colonies. The first time (2012) we were second in the category and the second (2014) time our project was one of the two being awarded the Grand Prix. Separately, in January I was part of the team of my university, which participated in the mathematical tournament organized by Harvard and MIT in Boston, where the team won the eighth place.
Was the project for NASA a springboard to your training in Germany?

In Germany, it is relatively easy to be accepted to university, as long as you have a relatively high mark in your diploma and a certificate in German. What is difficult, is graduating. In this aspect, while dealing with the NASA projects, I needed to deepen my knowledge in natural science and mathematics, which at present helps me greatly in my studies.
physics and astronomy in munich
Team work at school
How did you come to the major Physics in Munich?

Of all sciences, I have always liked most physics and astronomy, dealing seriously with them since I was in the 7th grade. I like to think of myself as a future professional physicist and an amateur astronomer. The idea of going to Munich occurred to me after I was an exchange student in Nuremberg for 2 months, when I was in the 10th grade. I liked everything there – starting from the attitude of the people, through the public transport, to beer and Wursts. I specifically chose Munich, because, on the one hand, one of the best universities to study physics in Europe and worldwide is located there, and besides, the town itself offers many professional opportunities because of its numerous research institutes and experimental centers.
What are your goals in this field?

My first goal is to graduate, then I would like to deal with what all physicists do – try to understand better the world which we live in, and possibly improve it.

What do you think while watching the stars?

Sometimes I think how abstract and at first sight meaningless it is, on the one hand, for one to get involved in something that will affect neither him, nor his children, nor anyone else in the near future, but at the same time it is one of the things that make us human, namely curiosity about everything and everyone and the eternal search for answers. The rest of the time I just enjoy their beauty, for me it is more than enough to erase such thoughts from my mind.
nasa picture of the day stars © NASA
Many people give up their ideas, do not share them with others and do not turn them into reality. You are not one of these. What inner feeling makes you act as you do?

The support I’ve always found, in my case by Dr. Radeva, who has always wanted and made us express our ideas and fight for turning them into reality; by my friends, also being my teammates, and first, by my parents, who are always ready to listen to me and help me in everything I start dealing with.
observatory in bulgaria
be engaged in research on space
More about Ivan Popov:

Video from the NASA project

Ivan Popov at Facebook
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