Published Sunday, February 03, 2013
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
High schooler Tyler Sisk and middle schoolers Beck Glover and Jackson Sims won Grand Awards for top projects at the Coweta County Science Fair, where 85 students entered 77 projects for judging at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts.
Sisk, a Northgate student, won highest honors in the Senior Division with Fuel of the Future, Part 2. The project revisited last year’s Fuel of the Future undertaking, which won first place and Best in Category for Sisk at last year’s Georgia Science and Engineering Fair.
Glover, a Smokey Road student, won for Erosion of Georgia Soils and Sims, a Madras student, for Whatever Floats Your Boat. Winners will head to the University of West Georgia Feb. 8 for the West Georgia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and top award-winners from that event will move on to the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Georgia on March 22.
“Dr. Pete” Ludovice, an associate professor in the School of Chemical and Biolmoleular Engineering at Georgia Tech as well as a stand-up comedian, spoke to students who attended the event. Ludovice – who researches improving creativity in engineering design by using improvisational humor – talked about the use of humor in technical communication and education.
Students heard about how a joke about passing gas led to improvements in an acid coating reactor; a poop joke led to the creation of a capillary shoe deodorizer and a joke about Spanx shapewear led to “pushed pork,” a lowfat barbecue.
“It’s about the use of humor in our industry,” Ludovice said, adding that “a lot of people are a little edgy about it.”
Ludovice had students chuckling with tales of his daughter Miranda’s fourth-grade science project that started with “losers like me whose lives are so pathetic they often eat their dinner from a vending machine.” He set about helping his daughter sort out “The Creme Filling Conspiracy,” or why vending-machine Oreos seem to contain less creme filling than grocery store. (Hint: It has to do with packaging.)
The idea that “there are no bad chemicals, just bad chemical names” set off another round of laughter as Ludovice talked about new car smell and a food ingredient called carrageenan, which is a seaweed extract.
“If you called it that, supermodels in California would be paying $500 a pop and slathering it all over their bodies,” he said.
On the other hand, Ludovice said, new car smell would not be nearly as popular if consumers knew its origin: “Toxic, carcinogenic, mind-numbing chemicals.”
“Dr. Pete” emphasized the need for better marketing of science and engineering as potential career fields, using impressions of characters ranging from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” to “Family Guy” and taking a musical approach with a mask and spoof of “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Ludovice encouraged the students not to give up in pursuing science, using Dr. Robert Langer as an example.
“He was wildly successful and started more than 25 companies,” Ludovice said. “But he also had an unbelievable amount of failures.”
• Grand Awards
Beck Glover, Smokey Road Middle School: Erosion of Georgia Soils (Junior Division)
Tyler Sisk, Northgate High School: Fuel of the Future, Part 2 (Senior Division)
Jackson Sims, Madras Middle School: Whatever Floats Your Boat (Junior Division)
• First Place, Junior Division
Arnall Middle School: Paul T. Anderson, Musical Math II; Robyn Clarke, Getting Your Two Cents Worth; Don Wade, The Strength of Glue; Haley Barnett, Meltdown; and Brittany Dunnavant, Sanitizer or Soap: Which Works Best?
Evans Middle School: Callie Bass, Do Chemical Parameters in a Pond Vary By Location?
Lee Middle School: Caitlyn McNutt and Alexis Garcia, Hot or Cold?; Joanna Rodgers, Cloud in a Bottle; Cary Burton, Casein Plastic: What’s the Best Recipe?; Ashley Bell and Abby McMullen, Sun Blocked; Cameron Davis, Insulation Sensation; and Nele Langhof and Julia Shankus, The Insulation Situation.
Madras Middle School: Natalie Jackson, Chemical Dye vs. Natural Dye; Ashlyn Carney, Got Teeth?; Stephen Hess, Rocket Science; Izzi Robles, Curl My World; Luke Sherman, Oil Spill!!! Nuts and Nylons to the Rescue; and Gillian Barber, Blood vs. Bandage.
Smokey Road Middle School: Daniel Bump and Alex Stephens, The Effects of Disinfectants on Bacterial Growth; and Benne Wagner and Luke Morgan, Physics of LaCrosse.
• Second Place, Junior Division
Arnall Middle School: Jessica Salter, Optical Illusions; Tatumn Behrens, Cleaning Up Oil Spills; Taylor Strickland, Plop Plop Fizz Fizz I Wonder What the pH Is!!!!; Alani Wright, Clean vs. Oily; and Dalton Gannon, The Mad Scientist’s Jacob’s Ladder.
Central Educational Center: Jordan Kasulas, Luminous Lights: How Long Will Glow Sticks Last in Different Temperatures?; and Jared Oenick, Penny-Nickel Battery: Does the Measure of pH in a Penny-Nickel Battery Affect Voltage?
East Coweta Middle School: Dawson Gilmer, Metal Conduction; Shelby Adams, The Journey of a Hovercraft; and Marimar Ramirez, Just a Bunch of Noise.
Lee Middle School: Taylor Morris and Kelsi Zhorela, Video Pulse Rates: Boys versus Girls.
Madras Middle School: Lindsey Dull, Woah, What Does That Say?; Benjamin Hardin, Wind Turbines; Carson Davis, Just a Bunch of Noise; Marissa Neola, Which Way Should I Grow; Nathan Stewart, Crash Text Dummies; Jared Shiffert, Rain Rain Go Away: The Effects of Acid Rain on Metals; Emma Hill, Bird Bath: What Solution is More Efficient in Cleaning Oil Off of Bird Feathers; and Ryann Smith, Natural and Chemical Cleaners vs. Juices.
Smokey Road Middle School: Mayson Glover, Chemical Pollution in Yellow Jacket Creek and Jake Quick and Austin Willis, Colors of Light.
• Third Place, Junior Division
Arnall Middle School: Zachary Duncan, Size of a Magnet vs. Mass a Magnet Can Pick Up.
Central Educational Center: Sharliett Cardenas, Voltaic Fruit: Which Fruit Produces the Highest Voltage?; and Ruby Gould, Homemade Marker Brightness: How Does the Evaporation of Water Affect Marker Brightness?
East Coweta Middle School: Landon Hicks, Coca-Cola vs. Metal; Taylor Adams, Drippin’ Clock; Hanna McLeod, What is the Best Way to Make a Paper Boat Float?; Trinity Stokes, Electrifying Detector; and Nick Burkey, Lemon & Lime Energy.
Lee Middle School: Gracie Robbins, Forensics of an Orange; and Ryan Jewett, Fly Paper Fly.
Madras Middle School: Ashleigh Hall, My Water is Dirty!
Smokey Road Middle School: Katelyn Cannon and Hannah Johnson, Can Your Eye Witness?
• First Place, Senior Division
East Coweta High School: Harris Wright Tidwell, Designing and Constructing a Novel and Inexpensive Ion Source Capable of Producing an Efficient and Focusable Ion Beam
Northgate High School: Derek Kinsch, Bases of Buffers; Katherine Ann Keller, Blood, I Presume?; Toryn Garrett, The Uncanny Valley: Is it really just a math thing? Looking at the Uncanny Valley in Terms of the Golden Ratio; and Erica Anstey, Here Comes the Sun.
• Second Place, Senior Division
East Coweta High School: Katherine McGowan and Madison Fouche, Sweet Justice; Cole Hanus, The Amazing LED Color Race: Investigating the Rate of Evaporation When Changing the Wavelength of LED Light; James Leist, How Safe is Rice; Alex Dombrosky, Gobble Gobble; and Chandler Workman and Kia Smith, Hot Water in a Cup.
Newnan High School: Matt Paschal, Which Grease Torques the Least?; and Thomas Schulz, Effects of UV light on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, UV-Sensitive Strain, G948-1C/U, alpha, rad1 rad18 phr1 ura3 mutant in excision repair.
Northgate High School: Abby Mortensen, Which Will Decompose the Fastest?
• Third Place, Senior Division
East Coweta High School: JiYoung Baik, Short-Term Memory; Jennifer Osorio, Going Ballistic; and Elizabeth Neece, Growth With Variety.
Newnan High School: Travis Greene, The Solar Solution.
Northgate High School: Lindi Bray and McKenzie Bray, Falling Dominoes.