• We are very pleased to announce some additional science fair successes by TSoG Mentorship students!


    Maze-solving Slime Mold

    Copernicus student Avaniko Asokkumar and his partner Prakul Singh who attend Vandeventer Middle School in Frisco were selected to advance to the regional science fair. Their project looked at the ability of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to optimize paths between multiple sources of food, based on the size of the food source. Slime molds are a group of single celled eukaryotic organisms that can aggregate together to form multicellular structures. Physarum polycephalum can exist as a single celled amoeba or as plasmodium, giant multinucleated cells that forms vein-like networks. When in the plasmodium state, the organism can solve complex mazes to reach a food source.


    A slime mold plasmodium in all its glory.

    Piezoelectric Polymers

    Kepler Student Snehith Rayavaram and his partners Dhruva Rao and Karthik Naidu won first place in the materials science category at Plano East Senior High School. Snehith and his team had an engineering goal of designing a light, flexible, wearable, efficient, and scalable device that can generate electricity from pressure and motion from the body. They worked with three polymers – the piezoelectric polymer PVDF and the conductive polymer mixture of PDOT:PSS – coated in thin films to form the device. The piezoelectric polymer generates an electric charge from mechanical stress and the conductive polymer mixture helps aggregate that charge to obtain a useful potential. Their first generation device was able to generate around 3 volts of electric potential peak-to-peak.


    From left to right: Snehith Rayavaram and his partners Dhruva Rao and Karthik Naidu in front of their experimental set up.

    Generating Oxygen from Seawater

    Also at Plano East Senior High School, Kepler Student Rishit Thakkar and his partner Aryan Jain won first place in the chemistry category. Their project was to improve the process of generating oxygen gas from salt water. This process is needed in places like deep sea submarines and the International Space Station, but is very inefficient. The process requires two steps, desalination followed by electrolysis. The desalination step is very important, both for efficiency and to prevent the formation of toxic chlorine gas. Desalination is usually done through reverse osmosis. Rishit and his partner used silver nitrate to remove the chloride through precipitation instead of reverse osmosis. Then they carried out electrolysis, which generates hydrogen and oxygen gas.


    Rishit Thakkar (left) and partner Aryan Jain working hard in the Biochem Lab.

    All three groups have advanced and will be presenting at their respective district science fairs followed by the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair on February 24th at Dallas Fair Park. We are so proud of them and wish them the best of luck as they compete at regionals!

  • We are very pleased to announce some additional science fair successes by TSoG Mentorship students!

    Copernicus student Avaniko Asokkumar and his partner Prakul Singh who attend Vandeventer Middle School in Frisco were selected to advance to the regional science fair. Their project looked at the ability of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to optimize paths between multiple sources of food, based on the size of the food source. Slime molds are a group of single celled eukaryotic organisms that can aggregate together to form multicellular structures. Physarum polycephalum can exist as a single celled amoeba or as plasmodium, giant multinucleated cells that forms vein-like networks. When in the plasmodium state, the organism can solve complex mazes to reach a food source.

    Kepler Student Snehith Rayavaram and his partners Dhruva Rao and Karthik Naidu won first place in the materials science category at Plano East Senior High School. Snehith and his team had an engineering goal of designing a light, flexible, wearable, efficient, and scalable device that can generate electricity from pressure and motion from the body. They worked with three polymers – the piezoelectric polymer PVDF and the conductive polymer mixture of PDOT:PSS – coated in thin films to form the device. The piezoelectric polymer generates an electric charge from mechanical stress and the conductive polymer mixture helps aggregate that charge to obtain a useful potential. Their first generation device was able to generate around 1 volt of electric potential.

    Also at Plano East Senior High School, Kepler Student Rishit Thakkar and his partner Aryan Jain won first place in the chemistry category. Their project was to improve the process of generating oxygen gas from salt water. This process is needed in places like deep sea submarines and the International Space Station, but is very inefficient. The process requires two steps, desalination followed by electrolysis. The desalination step is very important, both for efficiency and to prevent the formation of toxic chlorine gas. Desalination is usually done through reverse osmosis. Rishit and his partner used silver nitrate to remove the chloride through precipitation instead of reverse osmosis. Then they carried out electrolysis, which generates hydrogen and oxygen gas.

    All three groups have advanced and will be presenting at their respective district science fairs followed by the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair on February 24th at Dallas Fair Park. We are so proud of them and wish them the best of luck as they compete at regionals!

    Comments

    comments