More Future Scientists Revealed!

Just like last year, I can reveal to you several pictures of scientists of the now and of the future:

Marie E. Nielson

That’s Marie E. Nielson (left), in grade 8, talking about her mathematics project on experiments with perfect numbers. More here.

The California State Science fair took place again this year at the California Science Center, across the street from USC. I was a judge last year, which is such fun. Please consider getting involved in your local science fair; see my description here, and here is an extract:

The judges come from all sorts of backgrounds, academic and industrial, and this brings its characters, […]

By about 8:15am you’ve forgotten the initial thoughts and feelings of dread and you realize that it’s just a great thing to be doing! Why? There are hundreds and hundreds of kids wide-eyed with enthusiasm about Science!!! These are the ones who’ve done well in their regional fairs, and now they’ve come to the Big City. They’re all over the place and you can feel their excitement and relish the taste of it because you remember what it was like to go to your first Big Thing and find that there are other kids just like you. You remember what it was like to go up to the Big Scary City for the first time. You remember what it was like to have Someone take an Interest in some Thing that you’ve been devoting your life to for the last year. There are kids with those feelings written all over their faces all around you.

This year I was unable to do so due to a trip across the Atlantic concerning the birth of my sister’s son (details of the london trip here, here, here and here; Last link has a fun trip to Harrods and to the Science Museum). But my USC colleague Chris Gould -the chief organisational engine behind the fair- has prepared hundreds of photographs again, and you can go and have a look here, and see some of the project descriptions also.

Here is the marvellous display of the project of Victoria Hutchins (grade 6), from Monterey, about using planetary observations to determine that the planets orbit the sun and not the earth:

display of the project of Victoria Hutchins

She built her telescope, and understood the role of the phases and apparent size of Venus in determining that the Copernican system is a better fit of the data than that of Ptolemy. This is of course one of the classic results of Galileo. More here.

Here’s a shot of several projects from Junior Zoology:

Junior Zoology

More details here.

Various photos grabbed from the site at random. Click for larger image:

california state science faircalifornia state science faircalifornia state science fair

c8032.jpgcalifornia state science fairc8041.jpg

Don’t forget. Check out your local calendar for science fairs. Pay them a visit to see the displays and talk to the kids. Encourage kids that you know to join in. Join in yourself by volunteering to organize or be a judge.

It’s worth it.


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13 Responses to More Future Scientists Revealed!

  1. Pingback: The Other Blog | Cosmic Variance

  2. Louise says:

    Congratulations on starting a new blog. I hope you get lots of hits, trackbacks and comments.
    LOL, is the young woman sure about this Copernican system? What about the old concordance cosmology? That fit the data too, if you inferred enough epicycles. Do the scientists of the day refuse to peer into her telescope?
    More power to her; I hope she overcomes all the sexism and becomes a modern Galileo.

  3. Clifford says:

    thanks! I wish her well too… and the hundreds of other kids in the fair….


  4. Pyracantha says:

    Clifford! I’m so glad you’ve started your own Blog. Congratulations and good luck! Did you design your own logo? It looks like the graphs I’ve been working with in beginning calculus.

  5. Clifford says:


    Hi! Your beginning calculus class must be very advanced indeed if you are studying functions that lookk like that… wow! Good luck with the class, by the way.


  6. edward hessler says:

    I look forward to this new blog and wish you well with it. I judge science fairs here and how sweet it was to open your new blog and find a science fair.

    I don’t know whether it is you (it can’t be!) or me (it can be!) but the left side of the screen creeps in just a little over the first letter of each line. I don’t mean to whine upon an auspicious opening but here I am at it.

    I greatly enjoyed your posts on your monastery days and your comment on the introductory lectures for mathematicians as well as your puzzling whether it helps them or not but clearly helped the physicists. These are things to wonder about. I also liked the blackboard shots, recalling your neat whiteboard (I think it was) of a few months back. I hope you will post these from time-to-time.

    Best wishes!

  7. Clifford says:


    Thanks. I can’t really guess what is wrong, but I imagine it is something with the way your browser renders things. See the button marked “Viewing Tips” for some remarks about that. Let me know more about the problem if you are using one of the browsers that I think it looks ok in.

    Yes, there will be more of the things you mentioned.



  8. Clifford says:

    Wow…. only just noticed…. that post I did on the science fair a year ago (see the first link in the article) was also on July 28th!


  9. Plato says:

    after your blockquote(not closed out properly?), the here, here, here, and here; might be giving problems as well?

  10. Clifford says:

    Nope. Not as far as I can see. There\’s very simple html controlling that…. I cannot see any issues there. It is just a semi-colon.


  11. Arun says:

    Some of the pics convey the excitement and energy.

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