What is the effect of elevation on heart rate and blood pressure?
What are the energy savings of fiber optics?
Can cockroaches learn?
You might be smarter than a fifth grader, but the hundreds of Elementary Division (5th and 6th grades) tackled some meaty questions this week at the 2012 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (ASEF). As for the Senior High Division, how about self-sensing composites, aerial surveillance, water filtration, removing oil spills, soilless gardening, and yes, even cloning African swine fever virus protein.
This was my first time as an ASEF judge, one of the over 400 professionals (including many from Intel) supporting the event. Intel is a gold sponsor as part of its ongoing support of education.
According to a recent, well-publicized finding by a Council on Foreign Relations task force, I was not only helping in the community, I was fulfilling a patriotic duty. The report finds that weak schools in the United States are creating a national seucrity risk. Graduates enter the workforce without math, science and language skills to compete effectively in the 21st century. A recent column in Fortune magazine found that in the 1970s “America’s level of education stopped rising … the economy kept demanding more workers with advanced skills, but we stopped producing more.”
ASEF, and other science fairs around the country, including the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, were designed to help address that. Besides science and engineering, ASEF wants to encourage research spanning two or three years (most students start their projects 90 days prior). The fair hopes to grow to 1,500 students by 2014. That would require 500 judges.
Taking the long view myself, I plan on being there. This year I was a Junior High division judge … maybe next year I’ll “graduate” to high school.
How about you? Remember, your country needs you.
Congratulations to the 2012 ASEF winners.
2012 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (ASEF), April 2-4, Phoenix Convention Center. For more information (winners will be posted online early next week).