St. Patrick’s Day Green Energy at the Connecticut Science Fair

The Connecticut Science Fair begins tomorrow March 16th. Bob Wisner, the Fair Director, is our first featured writer of the year.  

More than 15,000 students from Connecticut and several bordering New York state towns have competed at local science fairs during the current school year. The top 500 middle and high school participants will showcase their science talent at the 2011 Connecticut Science Fair.  The 63rd Annual Connecticut Science Fair (CSF) will be held March 15-19, 2011, at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

CCEF ‘s Beth Piggush (left) with 2010 Senior High Winners

On Wednesday, March 16, the field of 500 entrants will be reduced to a field of about 150 finalists. Finalists will present their projects to nearly 300 judges (scientists, educators and engineers) from government, industry, academia and professional societies on Thursday, March 17.

Participants at the CSF are competing for more than $100,000 in prizes sponsored by more than 90 professional societies, universities, businesses, colleges, individual contributors, fair alumni and fair supporters. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund sponsors the CSF Alternative/Renewable Energy category. This year there are a record 70 energy-related projects. Some are investigating revolutionary concepts. One student built a wind turbine that does not have blades. Instead, it utilizes a turbine invented 100 years ago by the great genius, Nikola Tesla. Another student is using algae to create biofuels. Another project uses a kite that flies autonomously at high altitudes and acts as a wind power generator to replace ground-based wind turbines. Clearly, an energy-efficient future is on the minds of Connecticut science and technology-minded youth.

Six of the top winners at the CSF will represent the state and compete for more than $5 million in cash awards and scholarships at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science fair being held in Los Angeles, California, May 8-13 and at the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering & Environment Project (I-SWEEEP) Olympiad to be held May 4-9 in Houston, Texas. Middle school winners will receive invitations to submit their work to compete in the nationwide Broadcom MASTERSTM (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) Competition, a program of Society for Science & the Public.

Open to all students in grades 7 to 12, the statewide CSF provides a meeting ground for those interested in research, engineering and mathematics. We stress the formal elements of scientific and engineering methods. Strong communications skills are fostered by the science fair through the written and verbal elements of the competition.

Theresa Oei, Junior, East Catholic High School, describing her kite wind energy project at 2010 Connecticut Science Fair

The CSF Association, which sponsors the annual CSF, is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization founded in 1949 to interest young people in careers in science and engineering through recognition of their science achievements and by providing opportunities for them to interact with engineers and scientists. The program starts in the middle school grades and provides science and technology nurturing as students transition from middle to high school; it works to spark their science interests through high school.

This is the third year that the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has sponsored the Fair’s Alternative/Renewable Energy category. This year, in addition to the cash awards and trophies, a top high school winner of this category will receive a trip to compete in the GENIUS Olympiad, a new international science competition focusing on global environmental issues to be held at the State University of New York in Oswego, New York.

Bob Wisner
Fair Director
Connecticut Science Fair

46 comments to St. Patrick’s Day Green Energy at the Connecticut Science Fair

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  • Thanks for the great article. It seems that people are finally starting to get it and are doing what needs to be done to lower their carbon footprint. Now if they would just lower the price of things like LED light bulbs and give more insenstives to purchasing and installing wind turbines or solar panels. Then maybe everyone would get involved.

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    Everyone has seen the tired old science fair project, such as the volcano or the styrofoam solar system, which have been favorites of many parents for what feels like generations. These projects are relatively simple and easy from the parent’s point of view, but they are incredibly bad choices for the children involved. Why?These are the kind of projects that are so well-known that even the students know what is going to happen. And when that happens, the students are not learning anything, and their performance suffers during the presentation portion of science fairs because of it. Science fair judges have gotten bored with these types of projects, and that’s a big problem for students who endeavor to win prizes in their science fair. In the end, this kind of project is only really good for the parents, and surprisingly, these kinds of projects are not even particularly cheap!*

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