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A Look At Intel ISEF 2004 69

Posted by timothy
from the building-better-brains dept.
crl620 writes "Just this past Friday marked the end of the 2004 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). This year's ISEF took place in Portland, Oregon with more than 1,200 participants. Over $3 million was given out and three grand winners left with $50,000. Winning projects include a homemade Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) and a brain-computer interface for the muscularly disabled. My picture diary of this huge event can be found here."
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A Look At Intel ISEF 2004

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  • Strange coincidence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:56PM (#9192475) Homepage
    One of my clients called today asking me about home-brew STMs. There's a site that we found that covers where to find research papers on building them for around $2K...
  • by bdigit (132070) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:08PM (#9192536)
    That doesn't seem like a smart idea to be doing. A kid walking around photographing the terminals, the ticket reader and among other things. Post 9/11 I am surprised a security guard didn't tackle him to the ground and then have the FBI come in and question him for 9 hours. Sure he was just harmless ly taking photos but not a good idea to be taking photos of the equipment like that.
  • Re:damn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:08PM (#9192538) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I recently considered what it would take to build a go kart for the sky. My idea was to take a basic frame (like that of a go-kart), add blimp-like "pontoons" to the sides, and attach a lightweight propeller to the back. I figured that if I could get it to lift a few hundred pounds, I'd have myself a new way of getting to work. The problem came in when I did the actual calculations.

    To lift one kilogram of weight, I need about .4 kilograms of helium. This didn't sound so bad until I found out that the .4 kilograms of helium takes up about 1 cubic meter of space. I then assumed two gasbags, each one cylindrical, about one meter in diameter, and 4.9 meters in length. This worked out to about 8 cubic meters. (.5^2 * 3.14 * 4.9 * 2 = 7.693 m^3) 8 cubic meters would only give me 8 kilograms of lift! I then did the figures to lift 250kg of weight, and found that I'd need a gasbag the size of my living room to lift it.

    Ah well, another idea bites the dust.

  • Re:damn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:32PM (#9192626) Homepage Journal
    It's a common mistake. People tend to have the idea in their heads that helium is a magic anti-gravity substance. Once you point out their error to them, they tend to realize that they'd never really considered how it worked in the first place.

    In short, cut the guy some slack will ya?

  • by Richard Mills (17522) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:34PM (#9192632)
    I participated in two ISEF's (1994 and 1995) when I was in high school. I think that very few events I have participated in conveyed the excitement of doing science and participating in the scientific community like those ISEFs have. I'm just about finished with my Ph.D. now, and of course I've been to plenty of "real" scientific conferences, but none have captured the excitement that I experienced at those ISEF's.

    If anyone involved in organizing the ISEF reads Slashdot, I hope they read this testimonial. Participating in ISEF was very important for me and many of the other students, and the experience really helped cement my decision to pursue a career in the sciences. Thanks!
  • by RogueScientist (575110) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @01:04AM (#9192971)
    Hey I was just reading wired today and saw the new AI lab that Frank Gehry designed. So cool, and this picture of you and Rod Brooks brought back some memories for me too. In 1992 I was at the ISEF engineering project entitled Computer Controlled Robotic Crane. At one point during my life I ended up at MIT at the AI lab and always had a keen interest in listening to Brook's philosophy on robotics, so analogous to a biological model :) Its very cool that things like the ISEF are still going strong and that people are still interested in science and willing to pursue it, and it looks like you got to do some pretty cool things too. The one lament I have is that I've only kept in touch with a few people from the ISEF, though one is my best friend, so I can't complain to much, but there were so many talented people there that its a shame to have not taken in more of the people around me then.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @07:12AM (#9194072)
    I attented ISEF in 2002 and my team won grand prize for teams in 2003 at ISEF (BEACON) and we were awarded a free trip to europe to display our project at the EU science fair. (we coulden't compete, we are clearly not in the EU). This science compatition is an excellent way to get yourself on the map and get your foot in the door with many professors at many universities. It also is one of the best way to make friends and learn that most science nerds are not as nerdy as you think.
  • I loved the ISEF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cyclotron_Boy (708254) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @08:44AM (#9194754) Homepage
    I participated in 93, 94 and 95. I actuall won Grand award in 94. Those were some of the most fun times I had growing up. The projects really did vary in quality and dedication, but overall the experience is usually wonderful for anyone that participates. I met a number of physicists, and actually got a job at Fermi National Accelerator Lab as a result of my projects and the interest they generated. I actually left my PhD program and now work in the real world, but the ISEF really did introduce me to science on the grand scale. I wouldn't have gone into physics if it hadn't been for the ISEF. I am also currently trying to get my company to sponsor special awards at the ISEF. I figure it is the least I can do to give back.
    -F
    My four projects are on my webpage [umich.edu]

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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