Good Day Humboldt County!
While science fair projects still typically consist of papier mache volcanoes, LEGO robots, and crystals grown in a jar, many students these days are going above and beyond the staples, taking on projects that would even be awe-inspiring as a college thesis.
From exploring the effectiveness of cancer treatments to revolutionizing the disposal of plastics, these students prove you don't have to be an adult to have amazing, world-changing ideas about science. Take a look at these 20 amazing science fair projects we've listed here. They may just inspire you to step up your game in your own college-level science courses.
1. Nuclear Fusion Reactor — Thiago Olsen
With a budget of only $3,500, Michigan high school student Thiago Olsen built a nuclear fusion reactor in his garage when he was only 15 years old. How did he do it? He studied physics textbooks, used vacuum pump manuals, and surfed the Web for the best deals on parts. While his device is not self-sustaining and produces fusion only on a small scale, it's a pretty impressive feat for any teenager.
2. Diesel Hybrid Car — West Philadelphia High School
Working as a team at West Philadelphia High School, students constructed a diesel-hybrid race car that can go from zero to 60 in just four seconds. If that speed wasn't already impressive enough, the vehicle also gets more than 60 miles to the gallon. The students constructed it for entry into the Automotive X contest, with a grand prize of $10 million — the only high schoolers in the nation to do so. They are reworking their design to improve their chances of winning, and hope to get the car up to 100 mpg.
3. Chemical-Sniffing LEGO Robot — Anna Simpson
Many a science fair project involves LEGOs, but few on the level that Anna Simpson's does. Her robot, built of the plastic blocks, is capable of sniffing out toxic chemicals and other hazards, keeping humans at a safe distance. Simpson's work won her the California State Science Fair and could have a number of industrial and public safety applications if adapted.
4. Quantum Computing For Difficult Computational Problems — Yale Fan
Despite his name, this young genius chose Harvard over Yale to continue working on his education. Part of what got him there, undoubtedly, was this impressive bit of science. Yale's research project, titled "Adiabatic Quantum Algorithms for Boolean Satisfiability" analyzed the applications of quantum computing for solving some of the most complex and difficult computational problems. Most adults don't have half an idea what that even means, so it's all the more impressive that this teen was already studying it in high school. GO HERE TO SEE THE REST.
Time for me to walk on down the road…