Tuesday, May 20, 2008

High School Science Fair Winners

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair bills itself as "the World's Largest Pre-College Science Competition."
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world's largest pre-college science competition, bringing together more than 1,500 young scientists from over 51 countries, regions and territories in 2008.

Every year, talented students share ideas, showcase cutting-edge science, and compete for more than USD 4 million in awards and scholarships.
The title of the competition includes technology (engineering) but the descriptions are a bit confusing. It's not always clear that the "science" fair will also reward technology projects.

Here are the 2008 winners.

Sana Raoof, left, 17, of Muttontown, N.Y., Yi-Han Su, 17, center, of Chinese Taipei and Natalie Saranga Omattage, right, 17, of Cleveland, Miss., pose after receiving top honors at the 2008 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Friday, May 16, 2008. The young women each received a $50,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation as part of their award. The 2008 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair brought together more than 1500 students from 51 countries, regions and territories to compete for more than $4 million in awards and scholarships.
Here's a description of the winning projects.
Omattage developed a more efficient and less expensive way to screen for food additive contaminants, including those responsible for the recent deaths of many pets. By developing biosensors based on quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), Omattage’s research provides a new way for ports and warehouses to more thoroughly screen for food additives and other contaminants that could be found in food imported into the United States.

Raoof’s research provided new insight into how a better understanding of mathematical knot theory could help resolve classic biochemical problems. Specifically, her work focused on the Alexander-Conway polynomial invariant for chord diagrams to help prove how to classify molecules on a structural basis.

Su focused her efforts on identifying a high-activity catalyst that could improve methanol reforming reactions in order to generate hydrogen more efficiently. In doing so, Su has developed a method that can be used to improve the homogeneity of metal mixing and increase the surface area of catalysts which can also be used for the synthesis of other multi-composition materials with high homogeneity.
Congratulations to the winners. They should be proud ot their achievements.

Am I the only one who finds it a bit sad that there is so much emphasis on the applications of science and so little on discovering new things about the natural world? This is not meant to detract from the efforts of the competition winners since they were following the rules. But I'd like to change the rules. Why couldn't we have separate competitions for science and applications of science?

The event was held in Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of the states that removed the word "evolution" from the school curriculum. Kathy Cox is Georgia's superintendent of schools and she explained it like this ... [ Georgia Takes On 'Evolution' As 'Monkeys to Man' Idea].
Georgia's schools superintendent, Kathy Cox, held a news conference near the Capitol on Thursday, a day after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article about the proposed changes.

A handful of states already omit the word ''evolution'' from their teaching guidelines, and Ms. Cox called it ''a buzz word that causes a lot of negative reaction.'' She added that people often associate it with ''that monkeys-to-man sort of thing.''

Still, Ms. Cox, who was elected to the post in 2002, said the concept would be taught, as well as ''emerging models of change'' that challenge Darwin's theories. ''Galileo was not considered reputable when he came out with his theory,'' she said.


In the past, Ms. Cox, has not masked her feelings on the matter of creationism versus evolution. During her run for office, Ms. Cox congratulated parents who wanted Christian notions of Earth and human creation to be taught in schools.

''I'd leave the state out of it and would make sure teachers were well prepared to deal with competing theories,'' she said at a public debate.
Kathy Cox was one of the speakers at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair awards ceremony. Her favorite science fair project was one were a student was trying to discover whether kudzu would be a good source of biofuel.


  1. You 3 gals are spectacular! Everyone is so proud of you. I wish I could have thought about what you guys did. Keep doing the awesome work and represent us humans in a great way. I have one more question, do you have any other science fair ideas that you can think of or used in the past, every time I think of something, my science teacher denies it. I thought of an anti gravity machine, which gum blows the biggest, how does light affect plant growth, and about 15 more ideas. Please help me. I really want to beat my friend Vy because she won last year and I just want to win this year. Thanks to your biggets fan, a girl who has become insired!!!

  2. I love you guys! You are my inspiration. You help me to keep trying my best and never quitting, that's how you guys did. I'm going to become as good as you, but try to beat you in a good way, if I'm able to, but that might not happen because you guys are GENIUSES!! YOU GUYS ROCK!! KEEP MAKING US HUMANS PROUD!!