Young Scientist Award Winners achieve major success at ISEF!!

What a wonderful night we have experienced! The Grand Awards of the 2021 Virtual Regeneron ISEF were announced last night. A group of excited and nervous Young Scientist finalists and supporters gathered online to watch as $5 million (US dollars) worth of prizes were handed out to students from across the world. The late night proved completely worth it as we were able to cheer the wonderful achievements of our own NSW young scientists on this most prestigious of international stages. NSW students came away with 5 Grand Awards at the end of the night.

Alex Gray, Barker College – Fourth Place Award in Physics

A General Vector Theory of the Dynamics of a Rapidly Spinning Top

Proving that good science can be conducted on even the simplest of toys, Alex explored the physics of the spinning top. He researched all the different elements that contribute to the top’s motion and used this to build a computer simulation.

Liam Davies, Gosford High School – Third Place Award in Engineering Mechanics

The CycleHub – A Prototype for the Future of Cycling

A keen cyclist himself, Liam’s project was motivated by a desire to make this environmentally friendly mode of transport as safe as possible. He designed and built a 3D printed product that mounts on a bicycle and houses everything needed to cycle on the road safely. The CycleHub incorporates a front and rear lighting system with six programmable settings, ultraviolet glow wheels and many more features, all controlled by a touchscreen trip computer.

Hannah Jones, St. Columba Anglican College – Third Place Award in Robotics and Intelligent Machines


Hannah – who hails from Port Macquarie – is keenly aware of the huge disadvantage elite soccer players from regional areas have in that they often don’t have training facilities or even training partners to do basic skills as passing a ball. This situation was exacerbated even further by the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. In response, Hannah designed a robotic soccer trainer that has the ability to retrieve balls, deliver balls to different heights and can provide simulated passing practice. Hannah was competing as part of the BHPFSEA team at ISEF.

Maja Dalby Ball-Olson, Barrenjoey High School – Second Place Award in Plant Sciences

Maja conducted a flammability study of twenty two native plant species common to the Sydney sandstone bushland. The plants were tested for various aspects of flammability: including temperature of ignition, time of ignition, duration of visible flame, and time to return to pre burn temperature. Her results showed that there is a significant difference between species. Species identified by her research can be used to augment existing Rural Fire Service (RFS) recommendations for plantings in urban areas as well as to retain biodiversity in bushland close to human habitation.

Maja was competing as part of the BHPFSEA team at ISEF.

Sarah Hens, Menai High School – First Place Award in Behavioural and Social Sciences

A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating the Differential Efficacy of Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng, Curcuma longa Linn. and Vinpocetine on Spatial Learning and Memory in Mice

Many traditional health products are promoted as improving memory and preventing age related memory loss. In an extensive and highly detailed study, Sarah investigated whether these traditional herbal remedies had any efficacy. She tested their effects on the memories of mice by administering them in their food and water and then testing their ability to navigate a water maze by memory. Sarah found that these herbal remedies had no significant effect on the memory of mice.

A sixth Australian student, Hadia Bizham from Lyneham High School, ACT also won a Second Place Grand Award in Chemistry for her project Thrown – But will it break down? Hadia was also part of the BHPFSEA team at ISEF.

We couldn’t be more proud of the achievements of these young scientists and engineers and we look forward to seeing where they go to next. Congratulations to all of them as well as the entire team. You have done your country proud.