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April 27, 2012 > State Science Fair showcases student innovation

State Science Fair showcases student innovation

Submitted By Kristina Kurasz

Over 900 of the state's top middle and senior high school students will arrive at the California Science Center on April 30 and May 1st for the final round of competition in the 61st annual California State Science Fair at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

Winners will take home a combined total of more than $50,000 in cash prizes. The presenting sponsors of the 2012 California State Science Fair are Northrop Grumman Corporation and Chevron Corporation with additional support from THE MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Cheryl Craft, Ph.D., the first Executive Director of the Mary D. Allen Laboratories for Vision Research and a Senior Scientist of neuroscience at the Doheny Eye Institute, will serve as the keynote speaker. The keynote address will be Monday, April 30, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Ideas for projects often come from today's headlines or even real-life experiences. Here is a sample of the interesting titles submitted to this year's Science Fair:

Supersized: Can Teenagers Measure Serving Sizes?
Hand Sanitizers: Germbusters? Alcohol-Based vs. Non-alcohol Based
Cell Phones and Their Effect on Reaction Time
Tsunami Slicer: Which Structure Will Best Reduce a Simulated Tsunami?
The Five-Second Rule: Safe or Sorry? Is Food Safe to Eat after Five Seconds on the Ground?

Students representing 27 affiliated county and multi-county regional science fairs from every region throughout the state have advanced to the California State Science Fair. The projects span 22 categories - from aerodynamics/hydrodynamics to zoology - in two age divisions and will be judged by a volunteer pool of some 300 scientists and engineers from private industry and higher education. In addition to the winners in each category, top honors will go to Student of the Year (senior division only), and Project of the Year (in both junior and senior divisions). Science teachers, nominated by students, will also compete for both middle school and high school Science Teacher of the Year. Additional special and recognition awards will be made to projects by scientific and engineering organizations.

Besides the recognition and prize money, participating in the fair provides additional benefits for students. The process gives them the opportunity to develop a unique set of abilities, such as using scientific methodology to reach a conclusion, marketing techniques to create eye-catching graphic displays, and communication skills to explain their research to Science Fair judges.

The public is welcome to see this year's slate of innovative projects during the public viewing period on Monday, April 30 from 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The fair culminates with two award ceremonies Tuesday, May 1 in the Science Center's Wallis Annenberg Building: The Junior Division ceremony will take place from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and will be closed to the general public. It will be followed by the Senior Division ceremony from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m., which is open to the general public.

The California Science Center is located at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Parking is $10 per car in the visitor lot at Figueroa and 39th/Exposition Park Drive.

For general information on the California State Science Fair, please visit www.californiasciencecenter.org/CSSF/ . Names of the winners will be posted on this site after the awards ceremonies conclude.

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