7 Students successful at science fair

April 8, 2010 — by Ashley Tang

While riding his bike uphill last summer, freshman David Zarrin decided there had to be a more efficient way to switch gears.

“First I switched to a different gear, but it wasn’t quite working, so I switched to another one,” said Zarrin. “However, that didn’t feel right either. I realized that there is something between those two gears that is the best option, so I was inspired to try and build something to fix that.”

This idea led Zarrin to build a continuous computer control transmission system for bicycles for the 2010 Synopsys Championship, hosted by the Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Association (SCVSEFA). Zarrin, who had won the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles at age 14, was one of seven winners from Saratoga High.

Other winners included freshmen Edward White, sophomore Anoop Galivanche, and juniors Daryl Chang, Vijay Menon, Abhishek Venkataramana, and Caroline White. This science fair took place on March 16-17 in the South Hall of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Eight students from Saratoga High participated among a thousand other residents of Santa Clara County, all grades 6-12.

At the science fair, the students are divided by grade level and the category their project is in. The projects are evaluated by judges on six criteria: scientific thought, creativity, thoroughness, skill, clarity and teamwork.

“It went pretty well,” said Zarrin. “I got a bunch of judges. It’s tiring though, because I had to be at the fair for four hours. Doing the project took much longer––probably around 400 hours.”

Coming up with an idea and then building the actual project takes months of planning, time, and effort.

Said Caroline White, “For engineering projects, you first have to make a general plan, then you actually build the project. Throughout the whole process, you have mentors that guide you. And of course, you have to do research.”

Over a period of around 4-5 months, White built a tracking system that tracks moving objects.

“I saw a need for it,” said White. “For example, household flies are often pesky to people and they move too fast for people to track, so a machine that could do that would really be helpful.”

The Synopsys Championship Awards Ceremony will be held on April 11 at Great America. Along with ribbons and medals, various companies and organizations will award science fair winners over 250 prizes valued at about $50,000. High school winners will be given an additional offer: the chance to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the California State Science Fair.

“The judges were nice, and there were a lot of interesting projects there,” said White. “It was a good experience.”

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