by Terry Kelly
For the 11th consecutive year the Australian Skeptics have sponsored the Science Talent Search (STS) run by the Science Teachers Association of Victoria (STAV). The awards have been going for 62 years and many prominent Scientists have benefited from the encouragement these awards gave them when they were at school – Tim Flannery, for example.
This year there were almost 2000 entries and 584 Bursaries were awarded. Australian Skeptics sponsored 65 of these Bursaries (one in nine) making us one of the major sponsors, alongside such large and respected organisations as the CSIRO, BHP Billiton, The Royal Society of Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University and the University of Melbourne. It’s one of the best things the Australian Skeptics do. It’s a great boost for the students and priceless publicity for us.
The awards ceremonies, and displays of the entries, were held at La Trobe University on November 6th. Categories were : Creative Writing; Experimental Research; Inventions; Working Models; Science Photography; Video Productions; Games; Computer Programs; and Posters and Scientific Wallcharts.
We had 5 of our Victorian Committee attend the ceremonies which gave us a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the students we sponsored, and their families. They seemed to get as much of a kick out of meeting us as we did from meeting them. Some of our Bursary winners included 8-year-old Olivia from Flemington P.S. who invented a High Grabber which is like a long pick up stick originally inspired by a need to reach lollies hidden high up on the shelves at home. Mitchell of Essendon North P.S. made a working model of a Coolgardie Safe. Karli of Macedon Grammar created a board game called IndigenousInventOz highlighting the scientific validity of many indigenous practices. Quinn from Serpell P.S. devised an ingenious working model called Buoyancy – a floating object displaces a volume of water that is as heavy as the object. Other intriguing titles included:
- A Water Vortex Impeller
- Can You Unscramble An Egg ?
- Empires Of The Sky
- Capturing Reflections
- Temporal Discord : The Arrow Of Time
- Going Bananas
- REM – The Cavern Of Lost Dreams
Some of these students would probably do well if they went in a Poetry contest too.
The Science Talent Search is one of the most exciting things the Australian Skeptics is involved with. Great credit is due to the Australian Skeptics Science and Education Fund (ASSEF) who manage the funds.