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

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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail 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
thumbnail 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
thumbnail 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
This is a more challenging first-time programming project. You'll learn how to use JavaScript to create a simple program to analyze one or more paragraphs of text. Your program will count sentences, words and letters, and report the resulting statistics. You'll be able to run your program in your Web browser. Read more
CompSci_p003
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites An understanding of the material covered in "[# ProjectIdea Name="CompSci_p002" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]"
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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
Is your computer fast? How quickly do you think it can do 100 million arithmetic problems? Do you think it could beat your friend's computer or another one at school? Try this science project to discover an easy way to measure whether or not your computer is a math whiz. Read more
CompSci_p011
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Requires computer with Java-enabled web browser (Java Runtime Environment version 1.5 or later) and Internet access
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
The Game of Life is the invention of the mathematician John Conway. It is a cellular automaton, consisting of a grid of squares that turn "on" or "off" depending on simple mathematical rules that involve neighboring squares. Depending on how the grid is first set up (i.e., the initial conditions), various interesting patterns appear. Can you write a Game of Life program (in JavaScript or any other computer language of your choice)? Can you think of ways to alter the rules that result in… Read more
CompSci_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Sudoku puzzles have become extremely popular over the past couple of years. You can find books of puzzles for beginners to experts, and many newspapers print Sudoku puzzles daily. This project challenges you to write a computer program to check if your Sudoku solution is correct. Read more
CompSci_p023
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites An understanding of the material covered in [# ProjectIdea Name="CompSci_p002" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]
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)
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