Science fair at UTA draws more than 550 middle and high school students

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- Fatima Burney, 12, developed an interest in clean water after a trip to Pakistan, where she mistakenly drank unpurified tap water and ended up with tummy trouble.

So as part of a recent science experiment, she investigated the most effective way to purify water and proved her hypothesis: Boiling is best.

Fatima, a seventh-grader at Stripling Middle School in Fort Worth, joined about 550 middle and high school students from 10 counties Monday at a science fair at the University of Texas at Arlington's College Park Center.

After the students presented their projects to judges, many stayed to participate in campus tours and activities sponsored by the College of Science, College of Engineering and RadioShack.

The projects entered in the Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair included studying magnetic nanoparticles, microwave radiation and light pollution.

Carlos Bustos, 17, an Everman High School senior, examined whether gasoline or diesel fuel lasts longer.

He tested 10 milliliters of each fuel, burning it in a fume hood in a science lab while a teacher supervised, and recorded how long the flames lasted.

Over 15 tests, the gas lasted longer, from a few seconds to as long as a minute, Bustos said.

"I had hypothesized that because diesel was more expensive and less refined, it would last longer. That was wrong. The corn in the gas apparently has an effect on the time it lasts. It really was a surprise," he said.

Dominic Yurk, a Paschal High School senior, submitted a physics project called "Problem Solving With Chaos." His research looked at how to improve a machine called a tokamak.

Yurk, 16, described it in layman's terms.

"It's a machine that makes atoms go around really quickly so that when they smash together they will release energy. That [energy] can be captured to produce electricity."

Fatima collected standing water from her yard for her experiment on water purification.

"I got a microscope and counted the colonies of bacteria after I purified it," she said.

She tested four methods, including boiling the water, using purification tablets, paper coffee filters and a solar disinfection method that left a bottle of water in the sun for more than a day. Boiling the water for 20 minutes was the most effective method.

The students whose projects win the top two spots earn an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair on May 12 in Phoenix.

The top 50 projects chosen at the regional fair can participate in the state Exxon Mobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair in San Antonio.

Jessamy Brown,


Twitter: @jessamybrown

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