Martha’s Vineyard high school science fair showcases student creativity

February 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

A project by students Patrick Best and Pearl Vercruysee that used mirrors to produce electricity from cyanobacteria took the grand prize at the 15th Martha’s Vineyard Regional HIgh School (MVRHS) science fair Saturday. The event held in the high school cafeteria and library atracted a big crowd.

“We found out that cyanobacteria could produce electricity, and that it could be the source of renewable energy,” Pearl told The Times.

“It’s really important in terms of being a renewable resource, because the way the bacteria produce it is in a carbon-negative manner, by absorbing carbon dioxide to produce energy, which is kind of the opposite of coal,” Patrick said.

Grand prize winners Pearl Vercruysse and Patrick Best researched the effects of mirrors on electrical output from bacteria as a potential renewable energy source.

Grand prize winners Pearl Vercruysse and Patrick Best researched the effects of mirrors on electrical output from bacteria as a potential renewable energy source.

He and Pearl also won a special award from the Cape Light Compact for their project.

Samantha Potter won the second place grand prize for her project on measuring the pH levels in Crystal Lake in Oak Bluffs.

The third place grand prize went to Alistair Rizza for her “Pocket Life Saver,” an app she designed for cell phones and personal electronic devices with tips and instructions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid for victims of seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.

The three grand prize awards were presented in honor of former Tisbury Waterways president Dr. James H. Porter. In addition, six students received first, second, and third place prizes, three in each level.

The science fair also featured a wind turbine engineering competition, with prizes sponsored by the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative and the Vineyard Conservation Society. Gordon Moore took first place for designing the turbine with the best energy output, as evaluated by its performance in a wind tunnel.

This year’s fair featured 64 projects. Although participation was lower than in past years, MVRHS science teacher Jackie Hermann, the fair’s organizer, said the judges were impressed by the high quality and excellence of the presentations. The judges included a variety of people with science and engineering backgrounds, from on-Island and off.

A complete list of winners and more about the science fair will be published in The Times this week.

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