Young scientists, big dreams

The 10th year of Durham Regional Science Fair, hosted by UOIT’s Faculty of Science, saw its highest participation rate ever. More than 50 students from all over Durham Region showcased 35 projects from the engineering and scientific fields.

Physical, biological and computer sciences saw potential future scientists from Grades 4-12 eager to show what they have learned and created on March 28th.

Rayen Abderrahman, a Grade 7 student, was able to create his own speakers – called The Speaker Idol – with some cheap, easily obtainable material.

“One day I was listening to music and then I thought of this idea of making homemade paper plate speakers,” he said. “I used copper wire, magnets (same size, same height), two different plates and cards folded into accordion style.”

Abderrahman discovered that when his copper wire conduit was tight together it produced a much better sound than when there was less contact.

“If it’s apart by any measurement, say one centimetre apart, it will keep on vibrating. You have to have them touching each other then you have to overlap them again,” he said.

Abderrahman was one of many runners-up with a well-designed and researched project.

Some other runners-up grew their own mold to experiment with, created homemade lotion and even designed a magnet rifle.

Grade 8 students Nila Ganeshkumar and Shayanuthaa Indran came up with an idea to see how music affects your heart rate.

“The types of music that we used were lullaby, pop, heavy metal, jazz and classical because those are the main genres,” said Indran.

The girls discovered that when you listen to your favourite music your heart rate increases slightly, but when you listen to music you don’t like, your heart rate increases drastically.

“It causes negative emotions, which are like mad, sad, frustrated, anger and those really increase your heart rate,” said Ganeshkumar.

They discovered in their project how big of a role music can play in our lives and that music has even begun being used to treat Alzheimer’s and patients suffering from depression.

The grand prize winners of this year’s contest get the opportunity to participate in the Canada-wide science fair in Fredericton, N.B.

Grade 8 student Shanaya Ghaffar took home the second place prize with her project ‘Hand Sanitizers at Work: Which Does the Job Best?’. Ghaffar compared five hand sanitizer brands and came to the conclusion that it varies from what each person is looking for.

“It depends on what type of person you are. Do you want to help build your immune system or do you really care about being clean?,” said Ghaffar.

Hand sanitizers are typically either alcohol-based or antibacterial, which is not alcohol-based and usually contains different synthetic chemical active ingredients used to kill germs. Alcohol-based sanitizers are preferred as they usually solely remove harmful bacteria and leave behind the helpful stuff, said Ghaffar.

Recent studies have shown that antibacterial soaps/sanitizers have not proven to be more effective then the common hand soap, according to Dr. Alan Greene, a physician and pediatrician.

The first place winner was high school student Nicolas Gnyra who created his own physics accelerometer lab titled ‘Your Amusement Park Pal’.

The grand prize winners get to compete with more than 500 of Canada’s brightest young scientists coming from more than 100 regional fairs from May 10-16.