By Kurt Leyendecker
This past week I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Nearly 1800 students from every state and over 70 countries gathered to show off their science projects in a wide variety of fields and to be judged by experts in those fields. These men and women represent the future stars in the world of science and engineering, as well as the world’s future inventors and business leaders.
Colorado, and the Denver Metro region in particular, were well represented placing very well against some stiff competition. In fact, the top four projects at the Denver Regional Science Fair all placed at Internationals along with another two from the remainder of the state. This is really a testament to the quality Colorado’s budding scientists.
Edwin Bodoni of Greenwood Village finished best in category, Translational Medical Science. He developed a new sensor to measure a person’s maximum bite strength, as well as, a process for quickly and inexpensively diagnosing whether a person suffers from bruxism (teeth grinding). Edwin’s sensor and method are currently patent pending.
Krithik Ramesh also of Greenwood Village finished with a first in his category, Engineering Mechanics. He developed a means for sensing load on an aircraft wing during flight and making adjustments to the wings control surfaces to reduce or even eliminate stress concentrations that could contribute to wing fatigue and eventual wing failure.
Peyton Leyendecker of Lone Tree finished with a second in her category, Microbiology. She invented and optimized an antibacterial surgical adhesive incorporating Manuka honey. Her formulation is also patent pending. Her adhesive combination has the potential of significantly reducing the risk of infection at the site of surgical incisions over current surgical adhesives.
Evelyn Bodoni and Nicole Hankovszky, both of Greenwood Village, finished with a fourth in their category, Biomedical and Health Sciences. They treated specific kidney cells with specific pharmacological agents and determined that this in-vitro treatment improved the cells’ mitochondrial function. Practically, this research could someday lead to a treatment to lessen a common and serious complication associated with diabetes.
Other Colorado winners include a second place finish to Alyssa Keirn in Biomedical Engineering, and fourth place finish in Earth and Environmental Sciences to Kathryn and Michelle Kummel from Palmer Lake.
With the judging science fair projects the well known football adage “on any given Sunday” aptly applies. Despite the state’s incredible showing several deserving projects missed the cut. Two of my favorites included a super sensitive graphene based seismic sensor developed by Isaac Jordan at his kitchen table in Ignacio. He previously won best of show at the Colorado state science fair, and Anand Chundi of Highlands Ranch who previously won his category at the state fair for research into Computational and Experimental Methods to Find Targets of HCFC1, a Gene Linked to Neurological Disease.
Ultimately, congratulations are to be extended to all Colorado students who won all expense paid trips to Pittsburgh and represented our state exceptionally.
The regional and state science fairs are always in need of sponsorship whether in volunteer hours, special awards to students or monetary assistance. Corporate involvement can help companies increase name recognition among future consumers and employees, as well as inspire young minds. Anyone interesting exploring sponsorship opportunities should contact representatives from their respective regional fairs. Contact information can be found at www.csef.colostate.edu/Regional_State_Fairs.htm.