Salinas, CA – Four Monterey County students took top honors at the 63nd annual California State Science Fair held in the California Science Center in Los Angeles on April 28 and 29. More than 1,000 participants from over 400 schools throughout California competed for top honors at the state science fair.
In the Junior Division, Applied Mechanics & Structures, Henry Mason, an 8th grader at the San Carlos School, received Honorable Mention for his project “Make It or Break It: How Do Different Filaments and Fill Patterns Affect the Strength of a 3D Printed Object?” Mason examined the behavior of two different 3D printer plastic filaments and three different fill patterns when under a variety of stresses. He was gratified to find that the biodegradable PLA plastic actually proved generally stronger than the recyclable but not biodegradable ABS plastic.
In the Senior Division, Physics and Astronomy, Aaron Ray, a junior at York School, received Honorable Mention for his project “Temperature Dependence of the Indirect and Direct Bandgaps in T1Br from Cathodoluminescence Spectroscopy.” Ray used laboratory equipment under supervision and guidance of Dr. Nancy Haegel at the Naval Postgraduate School as part of the Science and Engineering Apprentice Program. His study assessed the temperature dependence of the luminescence peak associated with the direct bandgap vs. the indirect gap.
In the Senior Division, Plant Biology, Kapil Sinha, a sophomore at Salinas High School, took first place for his project, “Molecular Characterization of Wild Beet in the Imperial Valley’s Commercial Sugar Beet Fields.” His project determined that hybridization between wild beet and commercial beet is a real threat, and the area where the threat is greatest is in the southern part of the Imperial Valley. He developed a chemical assay that can be used inexpensively and quickly to test for glyphosphate resistance. Sinha placed third last year at the California State Science Fair.
Also in the Senior Division, Zoology, Andrea Alexander, a senior at York School, placed fourth for her project, “Sexual Dimorphism of the Market Squid, Doryteuthis opalescens” She investigated the mantle - arm length ratios between females and males and concluded that female market squid will have a mantle length to arm length ratio that is greater than that of the males, and Market Squids can be distinguished based on their external appearances.
All four Monterey County students earned the opportunity to participate in the California State Science Fair by finishing top in their division and category at the Monterey County Science & Engineering Fair, sponsored by the Monterey County Office of Education, CSUMB, the Naval Postgraduate School, MBARI, Taylor Farms, and many community partners. The local fair was held March 14-16, 2014 at California State University Monterey Bay. A total of 23 projects from Monterey County participated at the State Science Fair.
First place finisher Kapil Sinha, along with John Chapman Caddell and Jennifer McDonnal, will represent Monterey County at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA May 11-16.