May 14, 2006 The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world's largest celebration of science, showcasing the world's most promising young scientists and inventors in grades 9-12. This year in its 57th year, the 2006 final brought together1,482 students selected from 65,000 finalists who competed at 558 ISEF-affiliated science fairs across 47 countries during the past academic year. The top honours for the Intel-sponsored event were awarded yesterday with Hannah Wolf, Madhavi Gavini and Meredith MacGregor taking the gongs. Wolf took the main prize for her work studying formations caused by ancient earthquakes to predict seismic hazards, Gavini discovered a novel method of destroying a common and deadly infectious bacterium, while MacGregor studied the so-called “Brazil-Nut Effect.” Read on for a humbling array of student projects, such as a Mexican-developed, Word Processor interface for the blind, a Chinese robotic fish used for exploring navigation techniques, a Brazilian device that converts solar energy into thermal energy and a British “Proximity Fire Alarm" which uses RF10 technology to transmit the location of individuals in a burning building.
Gavini, 16, discovered a novel method to destroy a common and deadly infectious bacterium – pseudomonas aeruginosa – that causes secondary infections that often lead to death in patients with compromised immune systems, such as those with cancer, AIDS and serious burns.
MacGregor, 17, studied the so-called “Brazil-Nut Effect”: when a container of granular material is shaken, particles separate by size, with the largest rising to the top, like Brazil nuts in a can of mixed nuts. One of the most significant implications of understanding this effect is in the mixing of compound pharmaceuticals to ensure particles of different densities are evenly combined as they are packaged for human consumption. The effect also becomes relevant in natural phenomena such as rock slides.
Wolf, 16, studied formations caused by ancient earthquakes in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to try to determine the epicenters of the quakes and assess the impact. She mapped, photographed and measured the formations within the study area, then analyzed characteristics of the formations to determine the intensity of the quake and the direction and distance it moved. Understanding where the most damage has occurred can lead scientists to more accurate assessment and prediction of seismic hazards.
Each year, tens of thousands of students participate in regional affiliated fairs to earn the opportunity to compete at Intel ISEF. They present their projects in one of 14 scientific disciplines: Behavioral and Social Science, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Medicine and Health, Microbiology, Physics, Space Science and Zoology. The “Best of Category” award winners spanned 33 countries.
A complete list of all award recipients can be found here.
The International Science and Engineering Fair has been administered for the past 57 years by Science Service, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the understanding and appreciation of science around the globe through publications and educational programs. This is the 10th year of Intel’s title sponsorship of the International Science and Engineering Fair.