Awards for the 2014 Connecticut State Science Fair were released Saturday, March 15th, celebrating diverse contributions from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Institute for Materials Science, and UConn’s Physics Department to this year’s winner’s circle. A team from the UConn physics department convened at Quinnipiac University to judge the projects from all high school levels in the categories of physical and life sciences. The team distributed the UConn Physics Department Award and Early College Experience awards. School affiliation, age, and demographic information of the participants were anonymous until after the fair. Each participant was awarded a $100 gift certificate as a cash prize.
9th grader Lauren Low from Engineering and Science University Magnet School in Hamden was awarded the UConn Early College Experience Program in Life Sciences by the UConn Physics Department for her project entitled “The Effect of Pseudomonas Putida on the Biodegradation of Plastics” which showed clearly how a specific bacteria found in soil was effective at decomposing various types of plastic.
12th grader Arthur Doelp from Greens Farms Academy in Darien CT was awarded the UConn Physics Department Award for his project entitled “Momentum Powered Magnetic Generator For Electric Vehicle Battery Range Applications”. which sought to improve the operating range of vehicles using inertial effects to help reclaim energy of motion.
11th grader Carly Klein-Stern of New Milford High School in New Milford, CT was awarded the UConn Early College Experience Program in Life Sciences by the UConn Physics Department for her project entitled “The Oort Cloud: A Cometary Reservoir “, where a systematic set of images were able to resolve the orbital parameters of the comet ISON from a land-based telescope.
In addition to judging the Life Sciences section of the fair, Dr. Jason Hancock, Professor in the UConn Physics department mentored 11th grader and aspiring physicist Joseph Neumann of Amity High School in Woodbridge, CT, who was awarded the prestigious Connecticut Science Fair Board of Directors Award for his project entitled “Studies of Phase Separation Using Ferrofluids as a Model”. Joseph’s research was conducted in the UConn Physics department and Institute for Materials Science under the advisement of Professor Hancock and in close coordination with Amity High School’s Science Research Program, headed by Ms. Deborah Day. Joseph’s project involved an equipment-development component through the construction of a low-profile electromagnet, specifically designed to be compatible with a light transmission research microscope. This research progress addresses technology in the early stages of application with elite companies such as BMW and may be applied in contexts engineers have not yet discovered. Joseph was awarded a certificate and a $50 gift card.
The UConn team was comprised of Professor Menka Jain and Heather Osborne formed the committee who decided the UConn Physics Department Award and the UConn Early College Experience Program award in Physical Sciences. Professor Jason Hancock and Dr. Dave Perry formed the committee that determined the UConn Early College Experience Program award in Life Sciences.