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47th Wellington Science Fair to showcase young talent

47th Wellington Science Fair to showcase young talent

22 August 2011

New Zealander of the Year this year is scientist Sir Paul Callaghan, and perhaps this is what has inspired the many young entrants in this year’s Wellington Science Fair.

“NIWA hopes that many of the students with projects at these fairs throughout the country will take up careers in science,” says NIWA’s Education Coordinator Dr Julie Hall. “These students will go onto help drive New Zealand’s economy, in the future.”

“A small bowl for me and a big bowl for mankind”, “Bed of Nails”, and “Can My Shower Water Power My Lights?” are three of the science projects produced by students in the annual National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair, to be held at Victoria University, School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, of Wellington, 24 – 27 August.

There are 446 projects from students in Years 7 – 13, from 43 schools throughout the Wellington region, more than last year. “The projects represent exciting and innovative ideas”, says Dr Hall.

On 26 August, a team of 25 judges, all professional scientists and educators, will interview the students, and select the best projects in each of the five age classes. The prize winners will be announced on 27 August.

Dr Gillian Turner, Chief Judge and Judging Coordinator, who is also a senior lecturer in physics at Victoria University says, “The University is delighted to be hosting the Fair in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, again this year. Participating in the science fair is often the first step towards a career in scientific research – among this year’s judges are several postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers who recall their first science fair projects as setting them on the path to their current investigations. There are also several new faces on this year’s judging team.”

Dr Julie Hall says, “NIWA is proud to sponsor this event as part of our commitment to fostering scientific excellence and knowledge among young people. The Science and Technology Fairs are a great way to get school students to think about and engage with science. As well as gaining knowledge of science and the scientific process, they develop critical thinking skills that can be applied in all walks of life.”

Students are competing for over $10,000 in prizes, donated by a range of businesses and science organisations. There are also special prizes.

The Royal Society of NZ Wellington Branch Prize is $1000 for the best overall project in the Fair, taking into account the students year and level.

There is also the Victoria University Science and Technology Fair Innovation Prize of $4,000 towards fees in the first year of a VUW undergraduate science or engineering degree. This prize is offered to the best overall Class 5 (Year 11-13) project and must be taken up in the year following completion of secondary school.

Victoria University Faculty of Science Prize is an iPad for the best project in Classes 1-4 (Year 7-10).

NIWA offers prizes to the value of $200 for exhibits related to water and atmospheric quality.

There are also cash prizes for first, second, third, fourth and honourable mention within each class.

NIWA is New Zealand’s leading provider of scientific research and consultancy services. Providing major sponsorship for many of the science fairs throughout New Zealand is part of NIWA’s long-term commitment to enhancing science and technology for young New Zealanders. NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Waikato Science and Technology Fairs.

Public viewing: FREE Entry School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Laby Building, Victoria University of Wellington Friday 26 August 9 am – 5 pm Saturday 27 August 9 am – 12 noon

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