45th Wellington Science Fair to showcase young talent


19 August 2009 -- Is fish really brain food? It’s raining – should I run or walk? These are just some of the questions explored by students in the annual National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair, to be held at Victoria University of Wellington from 26–29 August.

There will be more than 420 exhibits from students in Years 7 to 13, from 46 schools throughout the Wellington region, a significant increase on previous years.

Student projects will look at a huge range of areas in science and technology: from horticulture to tomorrow’s energy resources, from bombarding bacteria to how to trick the brain.

Students are competing for over $10,000 in prizes, donated by a range of businesses and science organisations. Prize winners will be announced on 28 August.

Top prize winners will be nominated for places at Genesis Energy’s ‘Realise the Dream’, a national week-long educational forum showcasing excellence in student research or technological practice. The forum will be held in Wellington in December.

NIWA’s Education Coordinator, Dr Julie Hall, says “Science and Technology Fairs are a great way to get kids to think about and be active in science, have fun with it, and get a sense of achievement.

“As well as gaining knowledge of science and the scientific process, they develop critical thinking skills and perseverance that can be taken into other areas.

“NIWA is proud to again sponsor this event as part of our commitment to fostering scientific knowledge among young people and the wider community,” says Dr Hall.

On 27 August, a team of 24 judges, all professional scientists and educators, will interview the students and select the best projects in each of the five age classes.

Dr Gillian Turner, Chief Judge and Judging Coordinator, says the ideas from students are always inspiring.

“It’s very exciting that students display such curiosity and innovation in the topics they’ve explored. Each year, the exhibits are simply outstanding.

“The number of entries is up 14% on last year and we’re expecting around 600 students on the day of the judging.

“This is the next generation of science students and everyone in Victoria’s Science Faculty is looking forward to the buzz that comes from seeing the hundreds of fascinating exhibits throughout the building.”

Victoria University’s Faculty of Science and Scholarships Office are offering two prizes of first year university fees scholarships.

The Royal Society of New Zealand, which promotes excellence in science and technology, is donating the premier award of $700 and Otago University is giving an all expenses paid trip to its ‘Hands on Science’ summer science school. The principal sponsor is NIWA.

“We hope that many of the students exhibiting at this year’s fair will take up careers in science, which are vital to sustaining New Zealand’s economy and environment,” says Dr Hall.

Public viewing:
Laby Building, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington
9am – 5pm, Friday 28 August
9am – 12.30pm, Saturday 29 August

Around 600 students are expected to be there.

1pm, Saturday 29 August, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 3, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.

The details of prizewinners and the first prizewinner in each class will be posted on www.sciencefair.org.nz at midday on Friday 28 August.


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Atmospheric Scientist


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