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Kids' science projects 'in full bloom'

DANIELLE STREET
Last updated 05:00 07/09/2012
Science Fair
DANIELLE STREET
LIGHTBOX: Year 9 Lynfield College student Joel Boasman tested the effect of UVA light on cows’ eyes for his science experiment.

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There is a hubbub of cerebral activity as experiments by dozens of students from all over Auckland are being judged by some of the region's top scientific minds.

Clipboards at the ready, 78 judges representing Auckland University, Stardome, Niwa and Motat peruse around 235 entries to Auckland's Science and Technology Fair.

The event was held at Mt Roskill's Fickling Centre.

"The kids come in buzzing," chief judge Glenys Hayward says. "And the judges are struggling to choose the winners. There are a couple arguing over in the corner about who to give the prizes to because there are not enough," she laughs.

Ms Hayward was present at the very first science fair in 1962 with her father who was on the organising committee, but she says the calibre of entries is in full bloom this year.

One stand-out entry is that of Lynfield College student Joel Boasman, who undertook the "yucky" job of dissecting a dozen cows' eyes to test the affect of UVA light on them.

"In class we attempted the work of impressionists, mainly Monet, which was an epic fail," the 14-year-old says.

"But our teacher told us that Monet had suffered cataracts, which had me wondering how, since he had spent so much time painting outdoors."

The corneas Joel extracted from the cows' eyeballs were exposed for six days under a UVA lamp in a specially constructed box.

Another entry that made an impression on the judges is that of year 9 Mt Roskill Grammar student Athulya Rathnayake.

Her experiment "The Affects of Viscosity on the Index of Refraction" looked at the effects of liquids such as golden syrup and canola oil on magnification.

"I think it would be able to improve the various devices we have to view the world like microscopes and telescopes," she explains.

Chief judge Murray Black says they are looking for originality and "solid, good science" when assessing the entries from 23 schools around Auckland.

The winners of the fair will be announced at a prizegiving ceremony at the King's School War Memorial Hall, which starts at 7.30pm on Monday.

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- Central Leader

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