Final Proof That Science Fairs Aren’t Always Fair

The Wyoming kid who built his own fusion reactor?

They didn’t give him a Superior at the Wyoming state science fair.

Now, since they live near the border, kids in his school usually also go to the South Dakota state science fair, and nobody ever complained about it. And South Dakota’s judges, being sane, gave the kid a Superior and qualified him to an international science fair sponsored by Intel, where he could win cash and fabulous prizes as well as pretty colored ribbons.

At this point, the Wyoming science fair head called the international folks and ratted him out, because it turns out that you’re not supposed to attend two state science fairs, even if you technically qualify to go to two. Fine. It’s the rules.

But she didn’t call right away. No, she waited until the kid had hauled his reactor all the way to the international fair, so the kid could be disqualified there.

Yeppers, some people are truly well and truly in the business of trying to mess up other people’s lives.

Apparently the state of Wyoming was not amused by this, and has now fired their jerk official for being some kind of authoritarian annoyance (probably around the office as well as in this case). But it doesn’t help the kid.

OTOH, a kid with his own fusion reactor doesn’t need any help.

Anyway, for all of us who wondered what kind of science the judges could possibly want that our wonderful projects didn’t include… well, apparently a fusion reactor isn’t even enough, if the judges don’t like you. This should cheer us up a bit. (Aw. There, there, you little bean plant experiments. It wasn’t you.)

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5 responses to “Final Proof That Science Fairs Aren’t Always Fair

  1. Reblogged this on Head Noises and commented:
    Malicious jerk screws with kid far smarter than her; gets fired before movie plot ensues.

  2. I was never good at distinguishing a “demonstration” exhibit (which shows something others have already done) from a true “exploratory” exhibit (which hopes to show something no one, or at least very few, have done). It is rather gratifying to hear that someone is trying to do fusion, but I think I will reserve further comments on that, and pray that all goes well for the student. I’m all for reactors going critical, having done that myself, but then you see I know what that means, and like “multitasking” it does NOT mean what the Media and the popular idiom thinks it means.

    For all my involvement with science, I was only ever in ONE fair, and this due to the urging of my first chemistry teacher. (May she rest in peace.) She insisted that I do one, something known as electrophoresis of RNA. I recall asking her how come I couldn’t do DNA, but she insisted it HAD to be RNA. And so I did it… it had a dubious result, but it was interesting. Little did I know then what it meant.

    Now, here is the UTTERY amazing thing, which sounds like something I have written in my Saga, except that it is FAR STRANGER than fiction. (You know what Chesterton said; but I must not delay the thrill now.)

    The strange thing is that some 20 years later when I decided (stupidly, erroneously, and regretfully) to return for a PhD, my research was in aid of molecular biologists who were using RNA sequences. Of course those sequences were obtained by electrophoresis… Yes, FOR REAL.

    How did she know? Maybe it was revealed by the Author, Whose Plans stand forever. (see Ps. 33 as used in the Divine Office)

    Also: to keep you up to date: I have just ordered the proof of Et In Luna Pax, which is subtitled “How the Pope Went to the Moon” – so the 13th installment is VERY close to being ready.

    OH MAN (as Marty would say)

    • 1. Wow. Awesome story about the RNA project. Providence is weird sometimes!

      2. I didn’t do much with science fairs, either, because I had a really hard time thinking of experiments. My really big one was the bean plants, when I studied photosynthesis when you ran the light through different colors of cellophane or clear cellophane. My control was beans in the dark. Alas, I slew many bean sprouts in the course of the experiment because I tested for every color I could get. I don’t remember why it didn’t go over well — probably presentation. I also did how popcorn works (which apparently everybody does, alas for me) and a presentation on Pluto, which didn’t go over well because Charon suddenly got discovered and I didn’t have much info about it. Ah, well, those were the days before easy Internet access… and they never gave good marks for that sort of presentation anyway, which nobody had told my 3rd grade self.

      3. When you’re ready to publish, I’m ready to buy! 🙂 But at some point, it would be really nice if you’d put out a Kindle edition. I realize that formatting might be difficult for some aspects of the books, but a lot of your prospective market reads ebooks. (And it would be very handy for folks in the service, etc.)

      • Oh well… maybe I will look into that again after I get part 13 done, and also “Joe”.

        I am about half done with EiLP, and WOW does it look good. It was even funnier to see that Father Zuhlsdorf talking about Mass in outer space… It is well worth the wait. Soon everyone will want to know why the Pope went to the Moon!

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