Teenage 'scientists' compete for prizes

Fifty-four teenagers display projects in biology, history, mathematics, and robots playing soccer.

robot 298.88 (photo credit: National Science Museum)
robot 298.88
(photo credit: National Science Museum)
Fifty-four teenagers are taking part in Intel-Israel's Young Scientists Competition, whose winners will be announced at Jerusalem's Bloomfield Science Museum on Wednesday evening. In the past, the winners have received their prizes - scholarships for higher education - at Beit Hanassi, but this year, Education Minister Yuli Tamir will hand them out at the museum. The youngsters aged 16 to 18 have spent months or a year or more on their projects, helped by teachers and university experts. The top winner will represent Israel at Intel International's Young Scientist competition in the US and another one in Europe. The projects, which encompass biology, mathematics and computers, environmental science, history and the humanities, include robots that play soccer and detect and put out fires; dental implants with a titanium cup that does not wear down the jawbone; a computer program that logically completes sentences; a means to fight plant disease in vineyards; stem cell manipulations for treating coronary infarction; a chemical way to clean steam boilers; and a program that draws three-dimensional mathematical figures. A team of three Druse students from Beit Jann in the North designed tiny parachutes that can be thrown from a plane by the thousands to detect and clean up air pollution, while two from Netivot presented physics projects. One boy interviewed two dozen MKs using questionnaires and compared their leadership abilities with those of teenage activists from several political parties, while a girl studied the religious artillery unit that fought in the War of Independence. A Jerusalem girl studied the effects of aliya on the self-image of immigrant youths who arrive with or without their parents. Meanwhile, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities will mark National Science Day on Wednesday with a public lecture on energy and environment by Prof. Yuan-T. Lee, a Nobel Prize laureate and president emeritus of Taiwan's academy of sciences, who arrived with a high level scientific delegation from his country. The ORT educational network will mark the day with a Young Engineer's Competition at the National Science Museum in Haifa. Among the projects are a Harry Potter-style wand that is purported to perform magic such as opening a door and turning on lights; one that uses a toilet flusher and mousetrap to explode a balloon; a model that causes vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to mix and explode a balloon; and a device that cleans fish tanks automatically.