The entire Australian team (Young Scientist and BHP/CSIRO) represented the country well at the Opening Ceremony and Shoutout.
Arizona and the Sonoran Desert are home to magnificent Saguaro and hundreds of other cactus species – which are showcased in the wonderful Desert Botanical Gardens.
The team was lucky to spend a wonderful day exploring the amazing Grand Canyon. It gave the finalists a chance to bond and develop amazing team spirit that would continue to grow through the rest of our time in ISEF.
Angelina conducted a novel investigation into strategies to remediate oil spills using ferromagnetic nanoparticles and algae. Angelina successfully magnetised algae that was then able to be used to degrade oil in a simulated spill. This could then be removed using a neodymium magnet. Trialling different amounts and strains of algae, Angelina established that the Scenedesmus obliquus strain of algae was the most effective in degrading the oil, and the most effective amount of algae was a volume 1.5 times that of the oil.
Google Maps for space! Callum designed an application to calculate the path a spacecraft would take to move between planets using a transfer orbit or for travel to other star systems under power. He noted that, while government space agencies have dedicated systems for these calculations, his software offered this opportunity to everyone, with an interactive and user-friendly graphical interface. Callum will be the first Young Scientist entrant in the Mathematics category at ISEF.
Eliza examined the potential use of probiotics and synbiotics for the long- term treatment of lactose intolerance by analysing their effectiveness in breaking down lactose in milk samples into glucose and galactose. She measured the concentration of glucose as well changes in pH before and after the addition of probiotics or synbiotics as an indicator of their success in breaking down lactose. The results suggested that probiotics are effective in removing lactose from milk and can do so faster than synbiotic formulations.
Most Australian households put food waste into the garbage system, ending up as landfill. If Australians had backyard chickens, this waste could become a valuable source, and thus a part of the food supply chain. Emma aimed to determine how much food waste a chicken can process in both contained and foraging environments and what other benefits flow from this. The chickens produced nutrient-rich manures that can replace synthetic fertiliser and can condition the soil.
Isaac designed a waterproof device that can be worn as a belt by rock fishers and communicates wirelessly and automatically with another component which stays out of the water. Isaac’s device includes an innovative combination of different technologies including a GPS module and transceiver, a tinysine 3g shield and Arduino UNO coding. The device could potentially save the lives of rock fishers who get swept into the water.
Smoke alarms can save lives. However when they are triggered unnecessarily it can reduce their effectiveness. Kelvin investigated the effect of higher humidity levels on smoke alarm triggering and found that the alarms were indeed more sensitive in the presence of water vapour. He then used a simulation software and designed a prototype to determine that the incidence of false alarms could be reduced by comparing the signal from the smoke alarm and the humidity sensor, while still triggering in the case of an actual fire.
Macinley continued to develop and test the clinical viability of her invention of a system to reduce the radiation dose during radiotherapy for treatment of breast cancer. The system combines a physical shield made from overlapping copper pieces to block radiation to non-treated areas and a strong magnetic field to deflect harmful electrons out of the radiation beam, while not interfering with the treatment. This system will help to minimise the negative short and long-term side effects of radiotherapy, and potentially improving cancer survival.