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The 2001 Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair


Contents: [Additional Prizes] [Special Awards] [2000 Grand Prize Winners] [2000 Teacher Award Winners]

The Dallas Morning News and Toyota are pleased to announce that, for the fourth consecutive year, Beal Bank will be donating 40,000 in cash prizes to winning entrants of the 44th annual Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. These prizes will go to all first, second, and third place winners in the life and physical sciences. And, these awards can help offset college and other future expenses.


More that 1000 students enter The Dallas Morning News-Toyota Regional Science & Engineering Fair each year, and -- in 2001 -- more than 100 cash prizes will be awarded. With these cash prizes, competition is expected to be intense. We encourage you to begin your research and experimentation early to ensure a high-quality project!

For more information, call (214) 977-7044 or 1-800-431-0010, ext 7044.



Elizabeth Hambleton, an eleventh-grade student at the TAG Magnet in Dallas, was selected to receive a two-month, paid summer research fellowship from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Elizabeth will earn a $2,000 stipend and will assist at a laboratory at UT Southwestern during the summer. The $2,000 research stipend is funded by the Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Senior Division Grand Prize Winners will also receive an all expense-paid trip to compete in the International Science Fair in San Jose, CA, USA, May 6-12, 2001. (The 2000 Grand Prize Winners competed at the International Science Fair in Detroit, MI.)


Junior and Senior Division first-place and second-place winners will also be eligible to compete in the State Science Fair in Austin, TX. The 14th Annual Texas State Science and Engineering Fair was held April 7-9, 2000. Congratulations to the winners who participated from the Dallas Regional Science Fair this year:

The prizes listed under each participant's name were awarded at the International Science and Engineering Fair.


The prize below was awarded at the Discovery Young Scientist Challenge 2000.

...and there's more
Each student in The Dallas Morning News-Toyota Regional Science & Engineering Fair will be awarded a Certificate of Participation.

AND area businesses and associations award special prizes for winning exhibits. Refer to the listing of 2000 donors below.


Due to the support and participation of many local businesses and organizations, there is an opportunity to win many additional prizes at The Dallas Morning News-Toyota Regional Science and Engineering Fair: Thank you to all the 2000 special awards donors and we look forward to your continued support:



Each year approximately 250 area scientists, and science and business professionals volunteer as judges during the Regional Science Fair. First-round judges interview all student exhibitors and narrow the field to second-round contenders. Second-round judges then designate first, second and third- place winners, and honorable mentions in each science. Also, area firms and organizations recognize exceptional work by Science Fair exhibitors with special awards. This year more than 125 special awards were designated by 44 organizations. Here, after untold hours of hard work spent defining the questions and researching the answers, are the 2000 Dallas Morning News-Toyota Regional Science and Engineering Fair Grand Prize winners:



Brittany Boyer is a seventh-grade student at Wilson Middle School in Plano and is participating in the Science Fair for the first time. Her project, For the Love of Music, has been awarded a grand prize. As a clarinet player, Brittany was interested in the effects that various environmental factors and conditions have on the quality of musical pitch produced by the instrument. Brittany conducted a study to discover the optimum conditions under which to practice and play the clarinet. Multiple trials were conducted by playing standardized notes on a clarinet under various controlled environmental conditions. A chromatic tuner that measures the degree of sharp of flat of each note against ideal pitch was used to record results. Through her research, Brittany quantified how specific variables in humidity, room volume, room rigidity and distance of the clarinet from the tuner affected the quality of musical pitch. The results of this experiment show that the quality of musical sound is affected by controllable conditions, which can allow musicians to make educated choices about the environment in which to practice and play. Brittany plans to take this study to another level next year by conducting similar experiments in actual recording studios and concert halls.

Madison Jones, an eighth-grader at Highland Park Middle School, has been awarded the grand prize for Problem Poultry II, which studies means of controlling bacterial contamination in poultry products. Her project is a continuation of a research project last year which examined the extent of bacterial contamination on the surface of chicken products, and examined means of controlling bacteria during packaging. Tissue samples were collected and subjected to one of four treatments: hot water rinse, sprayed with dilute Clorox solution, covered with a Clorox-spray treated pad, or sprayed with dilute Clorox and covered with the Clorox pad. Samples were then packaged in Styrofoam and plastic. Bacterial cultures were taken from each sample and compared with pre-treatment levels. No bacteria grew from any deep cultures. Among the surface tissue samples, Madison found significant increases in bacteria in samples rinsed in hot water only, while significant decreases occurred among other treated samples. Surface spray and a sprayed pad to keep the dilute Clorox solution close to the chicken proved to be the most effective at eliminating all strains of bacteria tested. This information could be used to help processors develop chicken packaging aimed at reducing bacterial contamination. In future research, Madison plans to examine the effectiveness of bacteriacides other than dilute Clorox solution.

Scott Stewart, a seventh-grade student at Frankford Middle School in the Plano ISD, has been awarded a grand prize for this project, Titanic: 88 Years and Still Immense. Scott was intrigued by the titanic, which sunk in salt water 88 years ago and yet hasn't completely rusted to small shreds of metal. Scott conintued to expand on a previous research project which tested rates of corrosion; this year, he examined the corrosion of metal samples under different aqueous conditions over a five-day time period. In one experiment samples of steel wool were placed in saline solutions of various strengths. Measurements were taken at regular intervals over a five-day period to determine rate and amount of corrosion. In another test, he studied the corrosive properties of treated and untreated pond water on steel wool over the same time span. Scott measured corrosion by examining the concentration of suspended rust particles in the solutions tested. In the saline group, Scott found that the highest concentration of rust occurred in the solution with the highest salinity (twice the strength of ocean water), but that the fastest rate of corrosion occurred in .75 ocean water salinity. The experiment Scott performed used unfiltered, filtered, and boiled pond water on steel wool. Results indicated that untreated pond water corroded the steel wool faster than the treated water. Scott built a device to measure the amount of light filtered through the rusty water samples. Future project plans include the identification of the chemical(s) that caused the higher rate of corrosion in the untreated pond water.

Jimmy Yang, is a seventh-grade student at Robinson Middle School in Plano. His grand prize winning project, Plant: Are You In This Genus, examines the feasibility of classifying plants using two methods -- paper chromatography and spectroscopy. Chlorophyll from three species of plants in one genus (Lonicera), and from another species of plant in a different genus (Ligustrum), was extracted and subjected to both methods. It was found that of the two methods, spectroscopy showed the most quantifiable differences between genera. While the paper chromatography method did show some differences between chlorophyll extracts of the two different genera, spectrograms showed a very significant difference in absorbance ratios between the Ligustrum and Lonicera samples. The classification of plants has been based on a system invented more than 200 years ago which relies on the appearance and visual characteristics of plants. Only recently have more modern scientific methods, such as DNA testing, been attempted. The results of this study indicate that spectroscopy may be a possible way to classify genera of plants. This is the first year that Jimmy has researched classification of plants with spectroscopy and chromatography. Future studies may involve using spectroscopy on different genera; other methods such as gas or liquid chromatography may also be used.



Michelle Afkhami is a sophmore at Williams High School in Plano ISD. Her grand prize-winning project, The Miracle of Metamorphosis, continues reserach into the effects of chemical pollution on Lepidopteron (butterflies and moths) development. Earlier studies concluded that the development of the Painted Lady butterfly was affected by pollution; most notably a shortened larval stage. This year's objective was to confirm previous conclusions, extend them to another species (the Wax Moth), and to examine other adaptions Lepidopteron use to protect themselves. Each species was separated into 5 groups. One group of each species was left alone to develop normally as a control group; and the others were sprayed with distilled water or a 1% solution of sulfuric acid, sodium, or ammonia. Michelle found that both species used adaptive mechanisms to protect themselves from the chemical spray: the Painted Lady larvae used silk to deflect chemics, and Wax Moths used burrowing as a means of protection. In both species, the chemical groups were more active and consumed more food than the control groups. Michelle found that the most significant response was in the ammonia group, followed by those sprayed with the sodium, sulfuric acid, and distilled water solutions. Michelle has been participating in Science Fair competitions since kindergarten; her first-year Metamorphosis study won third prize in last year's Regional Science Fair competition.

Stan Pozmantir, a freshman at Clark High School in Plano, was awarded the grand prize for his project, Brushless Electric Motors -- A Third Year Study. This study continues his exploration into the design and development of brushless electric motors. (Brushless motors typically have higher stability, reliability, and efficiency than brushed types, and are used in many high-performance applications.) His third year study was devoted to the development and comparison of eight different types of brushless motors. Extensive testing and experimentation was conducted to determine the performance and reliability of the designs. Results showed that different motors performed best in various categories, such as speed under different loads, torque under different voltages, maximum load, efficiency, reliability, stability, cost, and complexity. The number of the experiments exceeded 1000 measurements; each measurement was taken at least 3 times. Stan's original brushless motor design has been widely used as an educational kit to demonstrate principles of electricity and magnetism. Other motors developed this year may serve the same purpose, to help explain the the basics of electronics. Stan created a website ( which explains his reserach in more detail. Stan's brushless electric motor research projects won the grand prize last year and placed second in the previous year's Science Fair competition. Future projects may include developing other motors, or improving existing motor designs.

Dianna Spence, a sophomore at Jasper High School in Plano, was awarded the grand prize for her project, Echinacea: A Natural Antibiotic. Dianna's study continues her research into the antibiotic properties of the Echinacea plant (an herb which has been advertised as an effective cold remedy). Last year, she determined that Echinacea acted as an effective antibiotic against a nonpathogenic strain of the E-coli bacteria. For this year's study, Dianna created extracts from leaf/stem and root/stem combinations of two species of Echinacea: purpurea and angustifolia. Using liquid chromatography, Dianna separated the extracts into separate components and conducted experiments to determine the antibiotic properties of each component against bacterial cultures of E-coli. After numerous experiments, Dianna found that different components had varying degrees of success. Two groups of compounds were shown to significantly inhibit E-coli growth: root extract from Echinachea angustifolia and root/leaf extract from Echinachae purpurea. For future research, Dianna's plans include indentifying the specific components in the Echinacea extracts that are responsible for the antibiotic activity.

Dean Tuck is a sophomore at Jasper high School in Plano. His All Washed Up Part III study continues reserach into levels of pollutants in Pittman Creek, a Trinity River tributary in Plano. Growing up near the creek, Dean observed over the years that the level of plant and animal life, as well as the appearance of the water, seemed to have declined in quality. He began to study the levels of carcinogenic and toxic compounds in the water of Pittman Creek. Dean's previous reserach determined the presence of pollutants and that pollutant levels int he creek varied depending on climatic conditions (i.e., after rainfall). This year, Dean expanded his reserach and identified concentrations of specific chemicals in the creek water within one hour after rainfall in order to establish a correlation between certain ppollutants and storm runoff. He found that after rainfall, there was a significant increase in concentrations of nitrates, toxic organic carbons, and simizine, and that levels significantly exceeded safety standards set by the EPA. In order to remove the chemicals, major improvements in water treatment are required, at considerable cost. Dean's future reserach plans may include research into low-cost, natural methods of filtration to increase water quality.



"You can teach students a lesson for a day; but if you can teach them to learn by creating curiosity, they will continue the learning process as long as they live."

Each day, the best science teachers guide, encourage and motivate their students. They try to plant within their pupils the seed of curiosity that will enable them to learn and grow. When they succeed, not only is the individual student rewarded, but all society ultimately benefits. In an attempt to recognize these teaching efforts, the Science Fair Teacher Award Committee last year selected 40 teachers to receive awards based on the number of their students entering and placing in the Fair. The 2000 Dallas Morning News Toyota Teacher Awards were presented to the following outstanding teachers: