Students seek scientific solutions

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Everything from traffic safety to chickens and ballet shoes has had a scientific eye cast over it ahead of this year’s NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair.

The annual fair, one of seven regional events sponsored by NIWA, has attracted 328 entries from 34 schools in the region and is being held on Friday and Saturday at the Alan MacDiarmid Building at Victoria University.

The students are competing for a total of about $15,000 in prizes with the top prize for best overall exhibit attracting the NIWA prize of $1000.

Among the projects up for judging this year is a study into how pest control has impacted native bird numbers in Wellington’s eastern suburbs as well as a project examining how much nitrate is in different water sources in the region and an investigation into improving traffic safety at T junctions on the open road. One student has also tested various materials in ballet shoes to take the pressure off toes.

NIWA freshwater ecologist and science fair coordinator Tracey Burton says the fairs are an important platform for students to think about and engage with science.

“For many young students, science fairs are the first time they will design and carry out their own scientific investigation. We hope the experience will inspire them to pursue careers in science and technology.”

Sponsoring science and technology fairs throughout New Zealand is part of NIWA’s long-term commitment to enhancing science and technology for young New Zealanders.

The NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair is open to the public on Friday 30 August from midday to 5pm and on Saturday 31 August from 9am to noon.

For more information: www.sciencefair.org.nz 

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Atmospheric Scientist