(Sponsored by Broadcom, part of the Young Scientist team) Dean investigated whether he could find the most efficient method of growing bond oats which his father grows for cattle feed. Using nine 44-gallon drums cut in half, Dean planted 114 oat seeds in each of the 18 half drums which had three different types of soil and then two duplicates of different types of fertiliser and a control. He found that Nitrophoska fertiliser added to sandy loam soil had the highest dry matter yield over a 14-week period.
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.
Olivia built and tested a monitoring system in which the ammonia, pH, and temperature levels of water are measured. The data is then able to be sent to a Bluetooth device to be logged into a relevant program. Her innovative portable system is convenient in terms of data communication, the range of aspects of water quality measured, and transportation in case of a location change. Applications of the system could include public lakes and groundwater systems on agricultural land, as well as aquaponics and fish farming.
Lead contamination of drinking water poses very serious health risks to humans, and coriander has been shown to be effective at removing lead from animal bodies. Sophie investigated which form of coriander – fresh leaves, cut stems or dried leaves – was the most effective at removing lead from contaminated water. Her extensive investigations found that fresh leaves were the most effective.