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NIWA Wellington science fair winners named

NIWA Wellington science fair winners named

The 2013 NIWA Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair has again been a resounding success, with over 500 intermediate and secondary school students taking part.

The fair, sponsored by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), is open for public viewing today and tomorrow morning at Victoria University of Wellington. Prizes will be awarded tomorrow, Saturday 31 August, starting at 1pm.

The Chief Judge Gillian Turner, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University, says: “Yesterday’s fair showed without doubt that science and technology are alive and thriving in the secondary and intermediate schools of Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

"The 410 exhibits which packed the undergraduate laboratories of the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University, showed the enormous level of enthusiasm and innovation of the next generation of scientists and the dedication of their teachers, parents and caregivers in supporting them."

She said each project was individually conceived, designed and carried out and almost all explored applications well beyond the traditional school curriculum showing, for example concern for the environment, for sustainability and health issues.

"The team of 26 judges was hard pushed to select prize-winners from the many excellent and varied entries that included investigations into the new light proof milk bottles, several up to the minute projects on earthquakes, liquefaction and tsunamis, projects on whether music helps us to remember better or plants to grow better, and technological creations involving electronics, hydraulics – even a cosmic ray detector.

"If yesterday’s fair is any indication, we will be in excellent hands when this generation of students moves through tertiary education and into the work force.”

Top prizewinners:

Giotto Frean, a Year 10 student from Wellington College, won the $1000 Royal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch prize for best overall exhibit with his project: “Using a cloud chamber to detect cosmic ray showers”. Giotto was also judged first in Class 4.

Lily Mason-Mckay, a Year 13 student from Wellington High School, won the Victoria University Innovation Prize of $4000 towards the fees in the first year of a Victoria University of Wellington undergraduate degree in science or engineering, which is donated by the university’s Research Office. Lily’s exhibit “Why don’t planes fall out of the sky?” investigated the properties of lift within an airstream. Lily also won a nomination for Genesis Energy Realise the Dream, and was judged first in Class 5.

Miro Macdonald, a Year 7 student from Wadestown School, won the Victoria University Faculty of Science prize of an iPad for the best Class 1-4 (Years 7 - 10) exhibit. Miro’s project “Thermal conductivity of Fabrics” was also judged first equal in Class 1.

Other age class winners:

Louis Thomas, from Northland School, with “Insulation, Insulation, Insulation” was judged first equal in Class 1 (Year 7).

Elinor Taylor, from Raroa Normal Intermediate with “Death to Moss and Lichen”, was judged first in Class 2 (Year 8).

Alex Sharples and Sebastian Thompson, from Wellington College with “Dirt Cheap” were judged first in Class 3 (Year 9).

Other winners:

Adrina Venayagam, a Year 11 student from Tawa College, won the University of Otago Prize of a trip to 2014 Hands on Science summer school. Her exhibit was “Breath of Clean Air - Air Quality”.

Shruti Iyer, a Year 13 student from Queen Margaret’s College, won a nomination for Genesis Energy Realise the Dream. Her exhibit was Radicals vs. Radicles.

Details of the main prizewinners, and the first prizewinner in each class are posted at:

Public viewing:
Laby Building, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington
9am – 5pm, Friday 30 August
9am – 12.30pm, Saturday 31 August

1pm, Saturday 31 August, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 3, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.

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