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California Science Center

Quality Insider

Student Scientists to Compete for Top Honors at 60th California State Science Fair

A total of $50,000 in cash prizes, and a chance to compete internationally

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 11:07

(California Science Center: Los Angeles) -- More than 900 top students from California’s middle- and senior-high schools will convene for the final round of competition in the 60th annual California State Science Fair, May 2–3, 2011, at the California Science Center in Exposition Park near downtown Los Angeles. A combined total of more than $50,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Gary Michelson, an orthopedic surgeon and inventor specializing in spinal surgery, who will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame this year. The public is welcome to view this year’s innovative projects on Monday, May 2, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Students representing 32 regions and counties throughout California must first qualify at the regional or county level before advancing to the State Science Fair. Its projects span 22 categories—from aerodynamics and hydrodynamics to zoology—and will be judged in two age divisions. Serving as judges are more than 300 scientists and engineers volunteering from private industry and higher education organizations. In addition to the winners in each category, top honors will go to a student of the year (in the senior division only), and a project of the year (in both junior and senior divisions). Science teachers, nominated by students in both middle- and senior-high schools, will also compete for the honor of science teacher of the year. Additionally, scientific and engineering organizations will recognize projects with special awards.

This year’s event introduces two new affiliations with an opportunity for students to engage in additional competition beyond the state level. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is a global science competition for students in grades 9–12 from nearly 60 countries. Five senior-division projects will be qualified for submission to the event, which also takes place in Los Angeles.

All state-level first- and second-place winners in grades 6–8 will automatically qualify to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS—Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars—a program of the Society for Science & the Public that inspires and encourages the nation’s young scientists, engineers, and innovators. The final round for this competition takes place in Washington, D.C.

Besides the recognition and prize money, participating in the fair provides additional benefits for students. The process gives them the opportunity to develop a unique set of abilities, such as using scientific methodology to reach a conclusion, marketing techniques to create eye-catching graphic displays, and communication skills to explain their research to the Science Fair judges.

The fair culminates with two award ceremonies on Tuesday, May 3, in the Science Center’s Wallis Annenberg Building. The junior division ceremony will take place from 4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m., followed by the senior division ceremony from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.

The 2011 California State Science Fair is supported by THE MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation, Time Warner Cable, and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.

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California Science Center

The California Science Center, an admission-free venue in Los Angeles, provides a rare model for science learning by combining permanent and changing exhibits with an on-site Science Center School and Amgen Center for Science Learning as well as a teacher professional development program. Exhibits include World of Life, Creative World, the SKETCH Foundation Air and Space Gallery, Ecosystems, and more. The center also features a nonprofit, educationally focused IMAX theater that heightens viewers experience with images of exceptional clarity by using the largest film frame in the motion picture industry.