2021 New Mexico Science And Engineering Fair Results – Los Alamos Daily Post


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This year science fairs are online rather than in-person posters and presentations. The 2021 Final New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair was Saturday, April 17 with results announced April 20.

Students from schools across New Mexico competed to perform research and present their results to judging panels.

Top projects selected in the regional fairs of New Mexico met at the State Fair, at which seven high school students (comprising five projects) were selected to go onto the International Fair representing New Mexico. The State level is the last competition for the junior (middle and elementary school) students.

Three projects from Los Alamos High School are going to the International Science Fair:

  • Robert Strauss (Computer Science);
  • Daniel Kim and Andres Interregui (Physics/Engineering); and
  • Karin Ebey (Animal Science). 

It is possible that more students will join these but that’s to be announced. 

Judging is performed by volunteers from all over the state. To become involved in judging at next year’s  science fair, speak to administration at Los Alamos High School before 2022. Schedules are announced in the fall semester. Judges need not have deep subject matter expertise as a large part of this is the student’s ability to present their work understandably and in general follow the scientific method. It’s a lot of fun.

The fair ranks the top projects in each science genre. It then selects across all categories to find the top five in Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. Los Alamos students garnered four of these 10 best in show slots.

Los Alamos High School Student Results:

Senior Best in Show projects in physical and Life Sciences (Los Alamos Students)

Karin Ebey – Climate Change on Crocodilians: Modeling the Effects of Phenological Shifts.

Ebey asked how do phenological shifts based on temperature and rainfall affect how crocodiles and their ecosystems respond to climate change? She implemented a Lotka-Volterra model of predator prey dynamics, and add in environmental modulation. She studied how environmental perturbations would act differently on predator and prey due to their offset reproductive timing.

Robert Strauss – Neuromorphic Computing: Simulating the Brain’s Visual Cortex.

Strauss simulated the performance of an ultra-low power alternative to digital computing and was able to train a spike based processing network analogous to the electrical signals of the neurons connections in the brain. He showed it could learn to recognize objects and capture still images from moving targets. Silicon Retinas, which are a photon event camera rather than standard framing video cameras, produced neural pulses analogous to those in the human Visual Cortex.

Phillip Ionkov and Anthony Lestone – Nondestructive Analysis of Geological Sites Through Muon Transmission Imaging.

Ionkov and Lestone built a gimbal mounted muon detector, developed a data acquisition system, and applied this to sensing muon absorption and scattering through the Tuff Cliffs around Los Alamos, potentially revealing internal density changes within. They mathematically modeled the expected muon flux for different source sizes and terrain features. They confirmed that certain sources agreed with their model,

Andres Iturregui and Daniel Kim, Developing the Technology for a Combat Drone

Daniel Kim and Andres Interregui examined the potential to launch rockets from drones. They assembled drones and model rockets as well as custom Arduino test harness to measure rocket thrust, they designed and populated their own PC boards, and profiled their field performance analytically, determining the drone could lift the rocket. (The FAA however prohibits actually launching rockets from drones.)

Junior Best in Show Projects from Los Alamos

Hyunoo Kim, Agent-Based COVID-19 Modeling and Impact of Human Personalities (Los Alamos Middle School)

Hyunoo Kim modeled a collection of moving particles with varied motion, attraction and degrees of infectivity and recorded the time series of their infection transmission. Behavior limitations impacted the long term infection rates.

Aislynn Marshall, Pickups, (Mountain Elementary School)

Aislynn Marshall constructed a model guitar and examined the signal response as the number of windings on the magnetic pickup was varied.

Wilson White, Extracting Bismuth From Stomach Relief Tablets (Los Alamos Middle School)

Wilson White studied how processing time affected yields of bismuth by extraction in Hydrochloric acid

Mathea Fung, Tune It Up! (Los Alamos Middle School)

Mathea Fung studied how different genres of music affected performance on tasks requiring mental concentration. She studied teens and adults exposed to classical versus pop music

Scientific category results:

Senior Animal Sciences

First: Kartin Ebey, Climate Change on Crocodilians: Modeling the Effects of Phenological Shifts, (Los Alamos High School)

Third: Veronica Parra and Julian Singell, Predicting Future Polar Bear Populations in Different Ecoregions, (Los Alamos High School)

Senior Chemistry:

First: Aaron Phillip, Calculating Energy Levels in Copper and Chromium Ions and Comparing with Experimental Data, (Los Alamos High School)

Senior Engineering:

Second: Andres Iturregui and Daniel Kim, Developing the Technology for a Combat Drone, (Los Alamos High School)

Senior Physics and Astronomy:

First: Philip Ionkov and Anthony Lestone, Nondestructive Analysis of Geological Sites Through Muon Transmission Imaging, (Los Alamos High School)

Senior Computer Science:

First: Robert Strauss. Neuromorphic Computing: Simulating the Brain’s Visual Cortex,  (Los Alamos High School)

Junior Animal Sciences

First: William Borovina, Tune it up, (Los Alamos Middle School)

Junior Behavioral and Social Sciences

First: Matthea Fung, Tune It Up!, (Los Alamos Middle School) 

Junior Biomedical and Health Sciences

Second: Angus Smith, Face Mask Comparison, (Mountain Elementary School)

Junior Chemistry

First:  Wilson White, Extracting Bismuth From Stomach Relief Tablets, (Los Alamos Middle School)

Junior Earth Science

First: Aditya Viswanathan, Modeling How Climate Change Affects Polar Ice Caps, Barranca Mesa Elementary

Junior Environmental Science

Third: Penelope Barry-Hoffman, The Long-term Impact of Forest Fires on Local Weather, Los Alamos Middle School

Honorable Mention: Malaka Phillip, Analysis of Silver Nanoparticle Effects on Aquatic Plants, Los Alamos Middle School

Junior Energy and Transportation

First: Emmitt Tibbitts, The Water Flow, (Los Alamos Middle School)

Junior Engineering

First: Aislynn Marshall; Pick Ups, (Mountain Elementary School)

Junior Physics and Astronomy:

First: Annie White, Refratiocn of Different Wavelength Light Through Various Substances, (Los Alamos Middle School)

Second: Lilia Viteva, Effects of gravity on projectile trajectory (Mountain Elementary)

Third: Tate Piohr, How are Electricity and Magnetism Related, (Mountain Elementary)

Junior Mathematics:

First: Kieran Gattiker, Visualizing Complexity, (Los Alamos Middle School)

Junior Computer Science:

First: Hyunoo Kim, Agent-Based COVID-19 Modeling and Impact of Human Personalities (Los Alamos Middle School)

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