Regional Science Fair Success - but still a long way to go

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Josh Smith
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Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:19 pm
Real name: Josh Smith

Regional Science Fair Success - but still a long way to go

Post by Josh Smith » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:43 pm

Hello everyone,
Recently, I had a nominal amount of success at my regional science fair. I was able to take a victory in the Physics category, made up of about 25% of the fair's total projects, and I also got a few organization awards too- including an invitation to a 3-day NASA camp at a nearby space center. I learned a lot through discussing with the judges; a few were even able to recognize it looked similar to a Farnsworth fusor, so we were able to have lots of interesting conversations on that end. I also told a few other self-motivated individuals about this website as well, so they may or may not come and check out this forum. Although it was an enlightening experience, I still can't find it in myself to accept the current state of my project. I ended up losing the grand prize award to a much more pragmatic project, which I might've been able to beat had I put more time into my display. Not only that, but I did the ENTIRE data collection and analysis in a day, and it's riddled with what could've been. Luckily, I received an invitation to attend the Virginia State S&E Fair, so I still have a running chance. I've been gifted a month to expand on my research; I don't plan on wasting a day on the euphoria of a temporary victory.

For the analysis of this project, I simply quantified relationships between pressure, voltage, current and its' resulting light intensity, an idea I naively tried to make practical my applying it to solar flare prediction through coronal loops - something the grand prize judges didn't hesitate to point out. However, some of the judges who really enjoyed the project suggested I expand on it through the use of magnetic fields; a suggestion I'm gladly going to jump on. I have a month, and spring break, in order to turn my research into something I am truly proud of, so I'm able to take it to the state science fair knowing I gave it my best effort.

Besides the pessimistic self-reflection, I just wanted to thank you guys again. This entire forum is a god-send for self motivated people willing to take the time to learn it all. The wealth of information on here than I've learned in my past two years of high school, while at the same time being something I'm actually interested in. Hopefully I'm able to cough up a project truly deserving to be representative of this community, and not having it ending up short of it's true potential.

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Richard Hull
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Regional Science Fair Success - but still a long way to go

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:55 pm


Great work with the effort in the science fair. From you good use of the English language, I can see you are a good student, and not just in science.
You seem like you plan to expand on your effort. Good work.

Oh, this is not a criticism, but this might have been better posted in Image du jour where we tend to post on individual accomplishments, personal news or things of interest with images of same. There is no need to re-post this there.

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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Rich Feldman
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Real name: Rich Feldman
Location: Santa Clara County, CA, USA

Re: Regional Science Fair Success - but still a long way to go

Post by Rich Feldman » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:57 pm

Good work there, Josh.
One familiar pattern, in science fairs and the real world: having only one day to collect data, then spending the rest of available time making a presentation from it. (I am taking this Thursday off work to judge at our regional science fair, yet again.)

Richard complimented your good English writing.
Don't forget:
it's riddled with -- correct
its' resulting light intensity -- maybe a minor typo
it's true potential -- flag goes up. Does the writer not read enough? Not really care that much? :-)
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Dennis P Brown
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Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: Regional Science Fair Success - but still a long way to go

Post by Dennis P Brown » Sun May 20, 2018 7:36 pm

Congratulations on your success. As you are starting to understand, one needs to be careful discussing issues about natural phenomenon's like solar flares. These are and have been extensively studied by astro-physicist and theoreticians for many decades. Your first duty is to read experts on the field both for general knowledge and more focused knowledge before trying to do any research. This should be reflected in your references - that is what good writer's and scientist do besides realizing that this is part of your "due diligence" before trying an idea.

I bring this up because when you suggest that you wish to study magnetic fields and plasma's - that requires a lot of effort since that is a major area that has been and currently is under extensive study in plasma physics and, of course, fusion. Before jumping on this suggestion by the reviewer, focus on what you plan to attempt - maybe discus that issue here for input. Without addressing the complex mathematics using Maxwell's equations (just to start), there is little one can say about plasma's in general. Modeling requires understanding of these equations/physics so one does not make simple mistakes - the famous garbage in - garbage out. Again, if you have an idea, do research it extensively in the literature first; this will prevent one from going down a blind alley or making a significant mistake.

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