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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Synopsys race against time Students race against the hours to complete their scientific masterpieces

For many students, going to bed at 3 a.m. is no big deal. For sophomore Meera Rachamallu, who makes it her mission to go to sleep every night at 8 p.m., nothing — not death nor life, not even a strong cup of coffee — warrants staying up this late. Except, that is, Synopsys. 
The Synopsys Science Fair took place at the San Jose Convention South Hall on March 13. About 1,100 students participated and about 40 percent of them will receive cash prizes and awards at the ceremony April 6 at Great America.
The weekend before Synopsys took place, Rachamallu stayed up until 3 a.m. putting her board together: printing graphs, cropping pictures, typing the conclusion and completing various assorted tasks. In total, her project took 35 hours.
“It was strange because for the first time I was actually limited to the number of hours left before I had to turn it in, so it felt like a countdown to the end of my life,” she said. 
Rachamallu did her project on the topic of riboflavin. She got her idea from the news since antibiotic resistance has been a major topic in hospitals and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that humans may be entering a post antibiotic era. When hospital staffs clean the surface of tables, it kills the bacteria but not the DNA. As a result, this DNA can still be transformed into new bacteria.
For Rachamallu’s project, she tried to find a way to prevent transformation in bacteria through the use of riboflavin, a mineral that gets excited under visible light and breaks the DNA into useless fragments. Though her project was inconclusive because the bacteria got contaminated, she still learned a lot from the background research about antibiotics.                 
Only 12 students from Saratoga High participated in the event, compared to 74 from Monta Vista, 75 from Harker and 60 from Lynbrook.
“For being such a good school, we don’t even have a science fair program whereas in those other schools, science fair is an elective.”    
She also said this is Redwood Middle School’s last year of having teachers mentor students for the science fair because interest in the program is increasing and the teachers cannot help everyone.  
This was Rachamallu’s fourth time doing the science fair, and she plans on continuing throughout high school. 
“At the end, it’s definitely worth it to present my achievements to the judges and educate the public,” she said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
 
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