*National Geographic’s Science Fair, directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster, is an uplifting and inspirational film on the world’s future scientists.
Today, science is everywhere and within everything in our Man-made culture. In fact each month, the average child in the industrialized developed world sends 3,000 texts.
Who amongst us (that are old enough) wasn’t intrigued by the science that enabled Man’s first step on the moon?”
When you enter a dark room and flip the light switch, or flush the toilet many times each day, that’s science and engineering at a rudimentary level. Yet, most of us could not exist without these old technologies. Never mind how inextricably attached everyone is to the internet.
Science Fair documents the adventures of 9 aspiring students as they prepare for local, state and national fairs en route to Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair – the Olympics of student science fairs.
In 2017, 1,700 finalists from 78 countries, territories and regions competed in 22 categories. Each year, one fortunate young scientist is rewarded with the Gordon E. Moore Award and a check for $75,000.
A number of the students that this documentary followed were Americans. Some hailed from Kentucky’s famed DuPont Manual High School, while others from Jericho, NY, were mentored by research scientist Dr Serena McCalla.
One remarkable student from Brookings High School, Brookings, SD, sought the head football coach as her adviser because science support was unavailable. She explored brain wave patterns and how risky behavior, at a school fraught with drug and alcohol abuse, affects emotional and cognitive functions in adolescence.
Brazilian student’s Myllena and Gabriel identified a protein that can inhibit the transmission of the Zika virus.”
Two students from the farming community of Iracema, Brazil, studied possible treatments for children afflicted with microcephaly caused by the Egyptian mosquito carrying the Zika virus. They were concerned that this disease is an enormous burden on Brazil’s underfunded health care system. In addition, these industrious young scientists discovered a pathway to stop the Zika virus from spreading.
Another student from Lorch, Germany, had a passion for flying and a gift of an engineer’s mind. He re-engineered a 100-year-old flying wing concept, increasing both the stability and the maneuverability whilst reducing fuel consumption by an impressive 30 percent. He won the 2017 Gordon E. Moore Award.
It’s delightful to watch adolescents discover their passion with reckless curiosity and embrace science by exploring the world around them.
America’s current political insouciance towards science is dangerous. No nation must give up, or worse besmudge science because it is a rigorous profession. It demands excellence, dedication and intelligence. Today more than ever, we need more inquisitive thirsty youthful minds joining science and protecting our life support systems, Nature!
Watch Science Fair and marvel at the next generation of scientists as they grapple with the world around them in their quest to find solutions for a healthier and habitable planet.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.