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Science fair project

  1. Mar 6, 2008 #1
    Hello. My sister is going to participating in the science fair, and apparently my mom would like me to get a great concept for her to use (she wants to go to an elite university and she needs this on the resume).

    It is only for 9th graders, so I figure that PF can think of better ideas than any of them can. I already suggested supercooling water and doing the instant-freeze trick (I tried it yesterday, its real cool to watch), but I couldn't think of applications for that.

    Any ideas? There aren't many things that we are not willing to do with this as long as the materials are not illegal or crazy expensive.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2008 #2
    hmm I won a ribbon at my middle school science fair for doing a mold in your home study. Where I collected bacteria samples from around the home to see where the most was. Kinda boring, but I had a kick butt presentation.
     
  4. Mar 6, 2008 #3
    Coil gun.
     
  5. Mar 6, 2008 #4
    I think that your sister should be able to come up with an idea for a project on her own. Tell your mum that it will be good for your sister's self-confidence if she does the project by herself or with a classmate. If your sister asks you for help, suggest that she do an experiment on something that can be eaten. :smile:

    I'm sorry to hear this. I think that it is more important that your sister participates in activities which she genuinely enjoys and finds interesting and takes her own initiative in.
     
  6. Mar 6, 2008 #5

    wolram

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    Demonstrate how to simulate expensive perfumes with cheap ingredients.
     
  7. Mar 6, 2008 #6
    Don't they use stuff like urine, worms, and various venoms for that? The "high quality" stuff, I mean.
     
  8. Mar 6, 2008 #7

    wolram

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    Yep, and whale vomit, but have you ever tried to make a whale vomit.
     
  9. Mar 6, 2008 #8

    Moonbear

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    I agree with Oedipa on this. If it's her project, SHE should be coming up with the idea, not you. And if she's using you to get her into college, that's hardly a responsible approach. She should get in on her own credentials doing what she enjoys doing.
     
  10. Mar 6, 2008 #9

    chroot

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    I won grand awards in two International Science and Engineering Fairs back in high school. I'll be honest, most of the (legitimate) responses here are far below the level of any serious high school science project, much less one that will be worth putting on resume.

    Instead of simply observing some phenomenon (like the instant-freezing trick), a good science fair project needs to extend mankind's knowledge in some way. I certainly don't mean that it should be on par with a doctoral thesis, but it should involve some kind of original work.

    The most direct projects tend to be those which investigate phenomena with well-understood theory, and simply extend mankind's knowledge by collecting additional data which dovetails with the data collected by professional scientists. In other words, if you can just duplicate the experiments and methods and results of professional scientists, you'll win science fairs, even if all you're doing is collecting a new batch of corroborating data.

    In other words, if you're interested in astronomy, do a study of asteroid orbits: collect your own data with a telescope, reduce your own data, and show your conclusions which should be close to those made by professionals. If you're interested in computing, create your own programming language and implement a compiler for it. If you're interested in physics, build an apparatus to estimate Newton's constant, G. If you're interested in fluid dynamics, write a CFD simulator and make some pretty pictures of streamlines going around obstacles. If you're interested in medicine, see if your local hospital will give you some time on an older ultrasound machine and measure the velocity of the blood in you and your friends' hearts. All of these projects are within the grasp of an enterprising high school student, and all of them, if done right, could end up winning the ISEF.

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
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