2014 ISEF

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Jim Kovalchick
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Re: 2014 ISEF

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Tue May 20, 2014 1:38 am

The special awards judging is sometimes piece-meal and can involve less rigor than the fair's grand awards (place ribbons).

The special award the sonoluminescence project received was a 1000 dollars from NASA. Description:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the United States government agency responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research, answering basic questions like: What's out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find?

He also won 3000 dollars in United Technology stock. description:
United Technologies Corporation is a diversified company that provides a broad range of high-technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building systems industries. We are pleased to offer eight awards of $3,000 in UTC common stock for projects showing excellence in science and engineering.

He has to be happy with 4000 dollars, but he didn't get a place ribbon at all. He apparently has a prom using career in sales ahead of him.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: 2014 ISEF

Post by Dennis P Brown » Tue May 20, 2014 9:06 am

After thinking just a bit of deeper thought on the physics and something none of the judges apparently did, I realize that this award is not deserved and the idea appears, from the details in the abstract, complete nonsense. The basic premise is collapsing bubbles due to the sound waves acting upon the bubble walls (water surface tension is critical.) Creating iron spheres that would mimic such a collapse has to first be shown possible and simultaneously, proven to lead to the runaway heating that water cavities exhibit when they collapse. Neither of these absolutely critical physical phenomenon were demonstrated mathematically through the computer code. Nor, to my knowledge, has this ever been demonstrated in experiment relative to iron spheres. For these crucial reasons, the entire idea is worthless and totally undeserving of merit, much less than any award. Of course, maybe the detailed paper addressed these critical issues but from their abstract, this appears doubtful.

As such, I am deleting my previous post of considering the award deserved.

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Jim Kovalchick
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Re: 2014 ISEF

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Tue May 20, 2014 11:13 am

Dennis,
It sounds like you are torn between holding a high standard for quality of scientific projects and a side that says let them challenge and explore even if they are heading down a path we might think is wrong. If so, then you are not alone. I personally like to see these young people make honest attempts to stretch and exceed. Yes, every now and then we may see an intentional huckster faking data or stealing others ideas, but most of these kids deserve to very proud of their efforts. I am encouraged by their drive.

I recall judging at an elementary school science fair over ten years ago now. Amongst the many obligatory 'let's see if seeds grow in cleaning fluid' projects there was one where a child had decided to understand the science behind a decaying road killed animal. The other judges were annoyed with me for giving it the time of day because it repulsed them as some kind of juvenile prank. I stopped and left an encouraging note at the project board, congratulating the person on choosing to take a different path than the others. Who knows? Perhaps a person like that will find that one path that none of us were open enough to see.

Jim K

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Chris Bradley
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Re: 2014 ISEF

Post by Chris Bradley » Tue May 20, 2014 2:09 pm

The problem with what is written in that abstract is, as far as I am concerned, a failure to comprehend their own work. I have nothing against young'uns being bold and outspoken, but, irrespective of their age, experience and bullish optimism, that has to be tempered with a self-realisation and cognisance of what they are actually saying!

In this case;

"This endeavor combined the techniques of sonoluminescence and magnetic compression, allowing the extreme ignition conditions required by the Lawson Criterion to be achieved at room temperature"

could have easily been written as;

"This theoretical endeavor proposed to combine the techniques of sonoluminescence and magnetic compression, the results suggesting that the extreme ignition conditions required by the Lawson Criterion may be achieved at room temperature"

which would have changed the whole nature of the piece.

IMO, it is no play on words. It is a demonstration of awareness of what one is saying and claiming, because the point at which 'The Scientific Process' ends and science fiction starts is where claims are made without any self-critique so as to set in motion the process to examine the physical reality of what is being said.

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Richard Hull
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Re: 2014 ISEF

Post by Richard Hull » Tue May 20, 2014 2:47 pm

I will state that I am not in anyway demeaning their effort or their project. I am not even worried about the awards made or the quality of the judging. My sole concern is for the sanctity of the neutron club and maintaining the highest standards for admission for doing real fusion. I just do not see it in this effort due to all the factors I have already mentioned and that others have pointed out.

Again, the neutron club is not "fusor exclusive". Anyone doing fusion, by any method, with a proper demonstration and lots of data to show that fusion has benn achieved will be admitted.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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