Researcher Advances in Competition

Three Rocky Point High School science research students Pooja Deshpande (10th grade), Kyle Markland (ninth grade) and Mary Noto (10th grade) recently showcased their original projects at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. As a result of his presentation, Kyle qualified to compete in the second round on March 12.

Kyle’s project – “The Effect of Shielding on Cosmic Ray Interference” – tested to see which material is most effective for shielding a hypothetical space traveler against cosmic rays. The experiment utilized a cloud chamber that allowed the observer to see cosmic rays. The number of rays was first recorded without any shielding (control), then the shields for the six materials were individually placed over the chamber, and the change in the amount of cosmic rays was recorded. It was found that aluminum foil is significantly better at blocking cosmic rays than any other material. It is important to understand the outcome of this experiment as cosmic rays, while harmless to humans on Earth, can interfere with electronic devices or pose a life-threatening issue for astronauts.

The three students prepared for this year’s contest by researching a topic of interest, identifying a related problem that could be tested, designing and conducting an experiment, before analyzing and interpreting the results. During LISEF, the students presented their research with the visual aids located on their poster boards.