Science studies bring awards
Winners at this year's Southland Science and Technology Fair were recognised for their studies of electric fences and PVC gloves.
The winners were announced at Ascot Park Hotel last night.
Two pupils from James Hargest College, Robert Tucker, 17, and Nymfe Thys, 14, won the top awards: the New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Premier Awards in Science and Technology.
Robert's project “PVC Gloves - Do they really keep us safe?” investigated how much of the chemical BEHP is released into an organic solvent from plasticised PVC gloves when they are heated, and how this varies with changing temperatures.
Robert said PVC was a plastic with the addition of plasticisers, which had negative health effects, which could leach out on to the oily surfaces of the skin and be absorbed into the body.
Robert, who spent about a week putting his project together, said he was pleased with the win.
Chief judge Tania Lineham said Tucker's work was "outstanding".
"It's quite unusual to get high-level chemistry projects. He's done some very complete work and he's done it really really well," she said.
Robert will pursue a degree in chemistry at the University of Otago next year.
Nymfe's project “Nocturnal Numbers” looked at the problem facing farmers and the public at night, when stock is grazed behind electric breakfencing.
The project aimed to improve cow identification visibility and the visibility of reels in twilight and dark.
Nymfe said last night she was overwhelmed by the win, which was unexpected.
Judge Lineham said Nymfe effectively identified the problem, went though the correct technological process and carried out different designs.
Mrs Lineham said the event kept her coming back for more.
"Celebrating the good science that our kids do keeps me coming back to do it year after year."
Southland Science and Technology Fair chairperson Samantha York said the high standard of this year's projects made judging difficult.
She said recognising the pupils' achievements at the award ceremony was rewarding.
Robert and Nymfe will be nominated to take part in the national event “Realise the Dream” to be held in Wellington in November.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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