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Thanks for the report. I hope you had a good experience and learned something at this science fair. However, I’m also disappointed that you didn’t win, but I admire your good attitude.
The problem the judges were having was that there were many excellent projects and they were looking for very minor differences to help make a decision. Did you get a chance to look at the projects that won in your category? This is always a good way to get ideas for next year.
The question about the pH was related to controlled variables. When doing a scientific experiment, it is important to keep all parameters controlled, except one variable. And it’s best to measure all of the controlled parameters, like pH, temperature, etc. Measuring all of the controlled variables would have been good to do, but would have doubled the amount of work for this project.
With your experiment there was also the inherent problem that you were testing a mixture of compounds; it’s always best to measure the effect of one molecule at a time rather than a mixture like grapefruit or lemon.
However, I think you did an excellent job and you may have discovered something about the citrus oil extracts that is significant and worth further investigation. I do encourage you to plan to do another project next year, either extending this investigation or selecting a new topic. I think your perseverance and attention to detail are great assets for any scientific investigation.
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