How many of you

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did not participate in science fairs as a child or did not attend math and/or science camps? I only started reading science literature as a preteen and physics literature as a teen. Will this affect my performance as a physics major and later a scientist?
 

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  • #2
cristo
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did not participate in science fairs as a child or did not attend math and/or science camps?
I didn't attend anything like this, but then I don't think they exist in my country.
I only started reading science literature as a preteen and physics literature as a teen. Will this affect my performance as a physics major and later a scientist?
I shouldn't think it will affect you. After all, you were at least reading literature outside school, which is something that a lot of people didn't do.
 
  • #3
I never participated in science fairs at all, nor math competitions when I was younger(I now wish that I did, but we can't change those things right? ;) ). In fact if you were to know me 3 years ago you never would in a million years think that I was going to end up attempting to go into a science related career.

I personally would say that it doesn't really matter, I figure that I am on par with most people entering University with interests in science and it only took me about a year of dedicated hard work to repair any damage I did.

How old are you now? How many years until you enter University? Just because you did not participate in competitions does not mean you are not good at math and science.

I think reading science literature as a preteen is easily early enough!

Science fairs mainly just give you an opportunity to do some interesting research and learn more about science. Perhaps some experimental skills like measurement can be practiced during science fairs. But with the amount of labs in University(plus the labs in HS), you get lots of practice with that anyway. If you are good at math and science, there is no reason to worry at all.
 
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  • #4
Kurdt
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I too have never participated in anything like you have mentioned. I'm from England like cristo and I've neve heard of any here. I don't think it will affect your performance at all as long as you're willing to work hard at what you do.
 
  • #5
Moonbear
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I suspect that the vast majority of working scientists have never participated in a science fair as a child. I have judged science fairs, and my impression is that the majority of kids participating are not doing so out of their own interest in science, but because a teacher or parent is pushing them to do so (or it's just plain required for the entire class). Those who advance to regional competitions do have better presentations of their projects, but it takes a lot of questions to ferret out how much is their work and how much is their parents' work. For a lot of students, they don't even have access to such fairs. Not every kid can afford to buy all the supplies to even do a project, and not every school offers an opportunity to participate.

For some kids, it's the experience that inspires them to get more interested in science, but you don't need to do that if you're already interested.
 
  • #6
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did not participate in science fairs as a child or did not attend math and/or science camps? I only started reading science literature as a preteen and physics literature as a teen. Will this affect my performance as a physics major and later a scientist?
I participated in science fairs from elementary school to high school. I think they were great experiences for other reasons, but they didn't really teach me much about science. In the real world, experimental science is a technique that's best learned in a (university) classroom. You can't just slap something together with glue and scissors, and expect to do a scientifically rigorous project. Looking back on it, most of the science fair projects I did weren't even scientifically accurate. The only exception was the one I did my senior year of high school, when I based my project on mentorship research I had done in the Mayo Clinic's medical physics department.

As has been already said, science fairs might inspire people to study science in college. That was probably the case with me. But most projects I've seen wouldn't actually constitute actual science. So no, you won't be hurt at all by not having had these experiences.
 
  • #7
I went to a science presentation at our college and helped to set up the experiments, but that was mainly because I had the raging horn for a girl who was also in attendance, ahhhh them were the days. Apart from that you would not of seen me dead doing anything extra curricular at all at school, except maybe detention.
 
  • #8
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I spent my childhood breaking neighbors windows and terrorizing the neighborhood. I turned out fine as a physics major.
 
  • #9
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This will make for an interesting thread: The teenage years of physicists. And you're not disadvatnaged if you're prepared to work to gain ground. In some ways you might even be in a better position learning the material later, you'll bring a more mature brain to bear against the ideas you'll be studying.
 
  • #10
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This will make for an interesting thread:
sure it will be!!1:cool::cool:

as regarding the OP, i too never attended any science fair or any science camp. even 1yr b4 joining the college, i didnt knew anything abt my career n all. only cartoons n candies filled up my space. but it hasnt affected anyway my current stiuation(BTW i am doing mechanical engineering).
n yes, as already pointed out, most school kids attend those (:tongue2::tongue2:) shows because of the pressure from school teachers n parents
 
  • #11
G01
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Will this affect my performance as a physics major and later a scientist?
Not at all. Don't worry.
 
  • #12
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sure it will be!!1:cool::cool:

as regarding the OP, i too never attended any science fair or any science camp. even 1yr b4 joining the college, i didnt knew anything abt my career n all. only cartoons n candies filled up my space. but it hasnt affected anyway my current stiuation(BTW i am doing mechanical engineering).
n yes, as already pointed out, most school kids attend those (:tongue2::tongue2:) shows because of the pressure from school teachers n parents
Ugh man, stop tying like that! :mad:

You are in college, right? :rolleyes:
 
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  • #13
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I never attended science fairs or competition, my school neither offered or promoted it in anyway. I went to a school that catered more to the people who didn't care than to the ones who did. I never went to science camps or anything of the like either, there were a few things like that offered around the province but my parents would never allow me to go. I probably wouldn't have wanted to in my younger school years, but when I was in high school I really would have like to go to something like that. That being said I don't think it set me back at all, I suppose I turned out alright :P
 
  • #14
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you don't have to be a child prodigy to succeed in life. chill dude.
 
  • #15
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You are in college, right? :rolleyes:
didnt u read what i wrote???
yea, i m in college
 
  • #16
you don't have to be a child prodigy to succeed in life. chill dude.
Oh God now you've just pressurised people into thinking if they were a child prodigy they have to succeed! :rolleyes::tongue2:

To succeed in life you need persistence more than intelligence generally. Mind you how you define success is entirely subjective, say I was a child in the US then I might define success as becoming rich and achieving the American dream, just a general example btw I realise not everyone wants this.

Me I define success as being happy, with one or two added extras, but then I'm a simple person. But I might if I cared about such things define success as having grand children and a happy family. A Buddhist might define success as detaching himself from desire and the physical chains of existence and achieving enlightenment. Success is a very transient concept, it is pretty guaranteed that one man's success might be viewed by another as a waste of time.
 
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  • #17
J77
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No -- never participated in any competitions or the like.

And, I've never heard of a competition win to help promote anyone's scientific career -- at least not here in Europe!
 
  • #18
ranger
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didnt u read what i wrote???
yea, i m in college
I think he means to stop using the chat room style of writing and use proper coherent English/grammar.
 
  • #19
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I think he means to stop using the chat room style of writing and use proper coherent English/grammar.
okayo:)o:) will do that from now on:approve::approve:
sorry for that
 
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  • #20
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Oh God now you've just pressurised people into thinking if they were a child prodigy they have to succeed! :rolleyes::tongue2:
are you a child prodigy:confused::confused::confused::biggrin::wink::surprised
 
  • #23
cepheid
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No I'm not a child for starters.:smile:
:redface::redface:relax, i was just kidding around:tongue::tongue:
You're telling him to "relax" when he had a smiley face in his post in the first place and obviously wasn't agitated. :rolleyes:

EDIT: Being on topic would be good. I participated in precisely two science fairs, on in sixth grade, and the next one not until twelfth grade! In the first one, I built an electromagnet, but my parents helped me out quite a bit (esp with building the backdrop for the poster). The 12th grade project was based on the observations I had made for my I.B. Extended Essay on Cepheid variable stars.

Both science fairs were fun, but they had little or no bearing on my success in scientific study in university. Granted, I may have been at some advantage because I've been interested in science since I was a kid, and passion and motivation are very important, as is thinking scientifically. But if you have developed these traits at a later age, what difference does it make. If anything, you now have the capacity to study things at a higher level than you would have as a child. Furthermore, as has been mentioned already, unlike you, most people don't study outside of school for the sake of learning because they're interested in a subject.
 
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  • #24
BobG
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I suspect that the vast majority of working scientists have never participated in a science fair as a child. I have judged science fairs, and my impression is that the majority of kids participating are not doing so out of their own interest in science, but because a teacher or parent is pushing them to do so (or it's just plain required for the entire class). Those who advance to regional competitions do have better presentations of their projects, but it takes a lot of questions to ferret out how much is their work and how much is their parents' work. For a lot of students, they don't even have access to such fairs. Not every kid can afford to buy all the supplies to even do a project, and not every school offers an opportunity to participate.

For some kids, it's the experience that inspires them to get more interested in science, but you don't need to do that if you're already interested.
It was mandatory for our 7th grade science class. We had to at least complete the project and do a presentation, but didn't necessarily have to enter it into the competition.

I was never that interested in that sort of thing or the diaramas and so on required for history class, etc.

Things like the pinewood derby races, rocket races, etc in cub scouts/boy scouts interested me a lot more. Having a problem to solve was a lot more interesting way to learn than to have to pick out a project I was interested in. For one thing, I was little more focused and knew what I wanted out of it. The rules were the limits and you had the chance to use a little creativity in finding a solution that would still fit within the rules.

Too bad they didn't have those competitions where you have to build a bridge out of toothpicks when I was in school. That would have been exactly the sort of thing that would get me excited.

Similar thing on papers I had to write in English and/or Lit classes. If I had to pick out a subject, the paper usually turned out pretty bad. Generally, the dumber the topic I was given, the better the paper I wrote. It almost became a challenge to see how far I could twist a lousy subject without actually breaking it.
 
  • #25
That reminds me at school we had a competition in TD(Technical Drawing) where we had to build the most solid bridge structure out of a small amount of balsa wood and place heavy metal weights on it until it snapped.

So we all paired off and argued for a while about the best bridge shape, from what we had experienced. Now I knew certain shapes are inherently strong given a certain distance, even at our young ages we knew that, although we didn't know a lot about physics laws as such we were only 12; even so I knew that just making an object that was very dense would be better in this case as the distance was short, single span bridges are better than complex designs, and note we didn't have the time to make perfect arches so they would probably be unstable.

So I just piled the wood together in the shape of a brick with glued cross spans across the bottom to stop it from expanding so much and it won; in fact it only snapped when the fat kid in the class sat on it for five seconds. Everyone else forgot the golden rule in this particular case, KISS. I think maybe that was the first time I really appreciated physics.
 

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