Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Intel International Science Fair 2007

Last week I was a judge at the Intel International Science Fair. I judged in the physics and astronomy category, and also in microbiology. I had the chance to look at some posters in medicine and behavioral science also. About 40% of the students asked an interesting question that could come up in day-to-day life, and devised an experiment to answer it. The rest had grad school level research projects. Everyone did a great job, but I was inspired by the students who had more straightforward experiments, such as, how does dress inpact your success at getting adults to take a survey (Aubrey Lynn Havold), or can you influence what color of skittle a person will choose with subliminal messages (Robert MacKenzie), or what is the effect of snow density on ski speed (Elizabeth Magnussen DiMascio)? They showed that simple questions that come up and actually impact your life can be answered, or at least approached, with simple, scientific methods. Of course the students who solved 20 year old problems in astrophysics (Temple Mu He) or showed the dark side of anti-hormonal therapies on cancer (Tejal Ulhas Naik) were impressive too. I was also impressed with how poised and articulate the students were.
If you have a chance, be a judge at a science fair, or design experiments to answer any questions of your own.
Intel International Science Fair

1 comment:

AlegraMarcel said...

I agree - be a judge at a science fair if you have the chance. I did it in college at the Texas State Sceince and ENginerring Fair in Austin, Texas, and I did it once in San Diego, too. The students are truly impressive, in all the ways Sciencebird described.

However, I have to say, I did once encounter a student who, upon probing, did not seem to have done much of the porject herself; her father had done most of it. Still, 99% of the students are great workers and soemtimes great innovators. It is an enjoyable experience.