Contestants with judges at annual Intel-Israel Young Scientists and Developers competition.
(photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL)
A hand-held ultrasound device lighter than a smartphone that could reduce the need for seeing-eye dogs by helping the blind maneuver and a device that improves the healing of broken bones in casts are just some of the innovative science projects developed by 79 high schools around the country.
The winners of the 18th annual Intel-Israel Young Scientists and Developers competition at Jerusalem’s Bloomfield Science Museum are scheduled to be announced on Tuesday morning.
Some of the practical inventions could easily be sought out by companies for patents and manufacture.
The competition, whose finalists were almost equally divided between girls and boys, usually takes place during National Science Week, which is around Albert Einstein’s birthday on March 14. But due to the March 17 national election, the Science, Technology and Space Ministry this year postponed National Science Week to the middle of May. Bloomfield decided to run the competition a few days earlier instead.
Also due to the frenetic political season, President Reuven Rivlin will not attend the award ceremony, but is set to receive finalists at his residence later.
Winners will receive university and college scholarships and the right to represent Israel at a variety of international science competitions, including Intel’s, and will represent Israel on May 12 at world Intel’s ISEF fair in the US.
A team of 27 professors – the judging panel headed by Hebrew University Prof.
Hanoch Gutfreund – weaved their way among the contestants and interviewed them in detail about their projects. Each subsequent year, the level of the work – which takes as much as 18 months to complete – rises impressively.
A total of 59 projects reached the Jerusalem finals, with 26 of them in the fields of technology and computer science, but there were still numerous projects in anthropology, history, linguistics and other “soft-science” fields.
Ella Cohen of the Katzir School in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, for example, investigated the changes in Palestinian fashion from the 19th century to 1960 due to political, religious and Western influences. “People asked me if I’m a left-winger, but I chose the subject out of ordinary interest,” she said.
Other historical and social science subjects included projects on “the aesthetics of evil in cinema,” children in Auschwitz, the characteristics of sign languages and spoken language and their focus on themes, and German popular opposition to Hitler. There were also projects from other fields including bioscience, mathematics and natural and environmental science.