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Others Like “Radioactive Dating: Take Your Programming Skills Nuclear”

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Science Fair Project Idea
What do rocks and clocks have in common? Both keep track of time. Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away. Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. Does this sound abstract… Read more
Geo_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair Project Idea
This is a challenging first computer science project. You'll learn the basics of how digital devices can represent numbers using only 0's and 1's, and you'll write a JavaScript program to convert numbers between binary, decimal and hexadecimal notation. Read more
CompSci_p005
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should be able to:
  1. write a basic HTML file with a text editing program (like Notepad);
  2. create HTML [[ SourceCode []<FORM>[] SourceCode ]] elements for user input;
  3. write basic JavaScript functions using [[ SourceCode []Arrays[] SourceCode ]], [[ SourceCode []Strings[] SourceCode ]] and simple flow control statements (e.g., [[ SourceCode []if...else[] SourceCode ]], and [[ SourceCode []for[] SourceCode ]] or [[ SourceCode []while[] SourceCode ]] loops).
Help is available for each of these topics. See the Introduction section for details.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Electronic devices can be designed to detect dangerous fumes or other hazards, such as smoke or carbon monoxide. In this electronics project, you will build another potentially life-saving detector—a radon detector. Radon gas is radioactive and can pose a hazard to your health if you live in an area where it leaks from the ground. In this electronics science project, you will learn how to collect radon with an ordinary dusting cloth mounted on the intake of a fan, and then measure its… Read more
Elec_p064
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Since the goal of this science project is to measure radon gas, you should have access to an area that has previously tested positive for radon with a commercial radon detection system. See the Experimental Procedure section for details. This is an advanced science project that will require creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability While most of the parts for this science project are readily available, you might need to be creative about finding or making some of the parts.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles when drilling and soldering. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
Are you fascinated by radioactivity and the emission of particles caused by the disintegration of an atom? This science project enables you to observe safely a spectacular display of radioactive decay. Following the instructions in the Procedure, you will be able to isolate a safe radioactive source and build a cloud chamber to watch the radioactive decay. Then you will use your cloud chamber to discover if a plastic lid can shield you from this type of radioactive decay particles. Read more
Phys_p086
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of, or willingness to study independently, the atomic model and what radiation is.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety

You will be working with radioactive material in this science project; it is completely safe as long as the simple safety instructions in the Procedure are followed.

This project uses isopropyl alcohol, a flammable product. Do not use it near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is colder than regular ice and can damage your skin. Wear insulating gloves when handling it.

If you choose to take apart a smoke detector, be very careful when cutting through metal or plastic. Cut edges might be sharp. Adult help and supervision is required. Minor injury is possible.

Science Fair Project Idea
Can computer games be used to educate? Pick a game that incorporates educational material. There are a variety of educational computer games on the market in the areas of math, history, science, and language, as well as many simpler versions free on the Internet. Make up a test based on the subject area covered by the computer game. Have your volunteers take the test before and after playing the game. Does playing the computer game improve people's score on the test? Read more
Games_p006
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
The author of this project hypothesized that movies often disappoint readers because book-based movies tend to "dumb down" the works on which they are based (Fuhrman, 2002). Naturally, selective compression is necessary when telling a story as a movie, or no one would sit through it. (Hey, maybe there's an idea for a different experiment!) Selective compression is not necessarily the same, however, as simplification. There are ways to objectively measure the complexity of written language… Read more
Soc_p024
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever noticed an old stone wall and wondered how long it has been there? If there is lichen growing on the wall, the lichen has most likely been living there since the time the wall was made, so if you could figure out how old the lichen is then you could deduce the age of the wall. Geologies use this method, called lichenometry, and other methods to establish dates and temporal sequences as they seek to construct a history from the available evidence. In this geology science project,… Read more
Geo_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Local lichen species with suitable growth patterns for use in dating.
Material Availability Availability of suitable lichen species can depend on geographic area.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
You may know Lewis Carroll as the author of Alice in Wonderland, but did you know that in real life he was a mathematician who studied symbolic logic and logical reasoning? How can math help you solve Lewis Carroll's Logic Game? (Bogomolny, 2006) How are algorithms for solving the game Sudoku similar to solving a logic problem? (Hayes, 2006) For the super-advanced mathematical genius, try to evaluate currently available, logic-based computational tools, or design a better one!… Read more
Math_p035
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Is soil structure an important factor in earthquake dynamics? Investigate soil liquefaction and how different soil types respond to earthquake movements. Are movements more dramatic in sandy/loamy or clay type soils? Which soil structures are most stable? Which are the most volatile? (MCEER, 2005) Read more
Geo_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
You're playing Monopoly with a friend, and you've already got Park Place and you really, really want to get Boardwalk. If you're on Pacific Avenue, what are the chances you'll reach your goal? Here's an easy project that will show you how to find out. Read more
Math_p001
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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