Students to compete Friday at Science Fair

DULUTH -- Young scientists and engineers plan to swarm the Gwinnett Center on Friday, where judges will determine which students will go on to the next level of competition.

An open house for the 34th annual Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday. Judges plan to hand out awards at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to both events.

The projects feature the work of 899 Gwinnett County Public School students from 44 schools as well as Notre Dame Academy and City of Knowledge, two private schools located in the county. Also participating are home school children.

All region projects already have earned first place at the schools where they originated. The 2012 event marks the first time that elementary-level science projects can compete against middle school and high school projects.

The event is a great opportunity for students of all grade levels, said Jonathon Wetherington, GCPS director of science. He said the competition "provides those students with opportunities to extend their critical thinking skills, communicate their ideas about scientific principles and become more familiar with how science and engineering are applied in the world beyond the classroom."

Added Wetherington: "Allowing elementary students to compete encourages students at an earlier age to explore the possibilities and discover the relevance of their knowledge."

Wetherington said all projects on Friday will be judged for scientific quality, accuracy, creativity and experimental design.

In addition to the competition, the event also includes guest presentations from students explaining their original research projects.

Students will speak from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday. Speakers include the following:

-- Brian Barr, Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, "Calculating the Curve: Quantifying the Relationship between Absorbency and Oil Production in Chlorella Vulgaris Algae"

-- James Eric Gadea and Alykhan Danish Lalani, Collins Hill High, "Correlations Between Soil Samples' Lead Concentrations and Elevations"

-- Matt Hester, Collins Hill High, "Eco-friendly Ferro fluids: The Clean-up Magnet"

-- Keith Jackson, Central Gwinnett High, "The Canine Act: Acute Companion Test"

-- Katherine Li, Peachtree Ridge High, "The Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Quantum Dots"

-- Yana Nikolayeva and Guillermo Bautista, Mill Creek High, "A Rotating Generator Powering an Infrared Electronics System"

-- Heley Ong, Peachtree Ridge High, "The Bioavailability of Beta-Carotene in Spinach"

-- Vinay Patel, Collins Hill High, "Expression Profiles of KIM-1 and Alpha 1D in Diabetes"

-- Giovanni Righi, Collins Hills High, "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Generation with Lentiviral Vector"

-- Mindy Ross and Eun Jung Lee, Collins Hill High, "The Use of Sound to Create Electricity"

-- Esther Tonea, Gwinnett School of Math Science and Technology, "The Hippocampus and Relational Memory"

Gwinnett Center is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

For more information, visit www.gwinnettsciencefair.com.