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Others Like “The Joly Photometer: Measuring Light Intensity Using the Inverse Square Law”

Project Idea
thumbnail This is a good project for someone who is interested in both electronics and color vision. The equipment needed is on the expensive side, but if you continue studying electronics, you can use it again and again. Read more
Elec_p038
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this project you should be familiar with Ohm's Law. Experience building electronic circuits on a solderless breadboard is also helpful. The breadboard is the biggest expense, which can be used for future explorations in electronics.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervison required when using power drill.
Project Idea
thumbnail What's your favorite thing to do on the hottest day of the year? Dip your toes in an icy river? Hang out by the pool? Retreat to a cool basement? Lie motionless in the shade? You're probably not too eager to move around and put out a lot of energy, like mowing the lawn in the mid-afternoon sun. Well, you're not the only one. In this electronics science fair project, you'll find out that some semiconductor devices, like light-emitting diodes (or LEDs), act the same way. As their internal… Read more
Elec_p060
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety You should never look directly into an LED flashlight, as it can cause eye damage.
Project Idea
thumbnail How far would you have to travel so that the light of the full sun would provide "daylight" no brighter than twilight on Earth? This project describes a method to verify the inverse square law: how light, sound, electrical signals, and gravity each decrease with distance from their source. When you have finished your experiment, you can use your results to calculate an answer. Read more
Elec_p028
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Minor injury possible—use caution when handling single-edged razor blades.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever looked up at the stars at night and wondered how fast they were moving or how far away they were? By studying how the brightness of a star changes with distance, you can answer those questions. In this astronomy science project, you'll create a model of starlight and use a light meter to discover the key relationship between brightness and distance. Read more
Astro_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Plants move—not very quickly compared to animals, but they do move. Their roots grow downward in response to gravity, and their stems grow upward toward the Sun. In this plant biology science fair project, you will investigate how young plants respond through movement to light. Read more
PlantBio_p041
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Solar cells are an alternative method for generating electricity directly from sunlight. With this project, you can get down to the atomic level and learn about the world of solid-state electronics as you investigate how solar cells work. Your experiment will measure the effect of changing light intensity on power output from the solar cell. A possible variation would be to investigate the effect of changing the color of the light. Read more
Energy_p014
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail You can see examples of parabolic reflectors in flashlights, car headlights, satellite TV antennas, and even on the sidelines at football games. How do these "dish" antennas work to gather signals? What is the best position for placing the detector for these antennas? In this project, you can use an LED and a simple photodector to find out for yourself. Read more
Elec_p040
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Here's an interesting flash photography project. With an inexpensive Fresnel lens, you can concentrate the light from your flash. You'll be able to shoot with a smaller aperture and a shorter flash duration. This will give you greater depth of focus and will allow you to 'freeze' motion at higher speeds. The trade-off is that the light will be concentrated toward the center of the frame. This project shows you how you can investigate that trade-off and find out how you can best use your flash… Read more
Photo_p013
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You'll need a camera with a separate flash attachment to do this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Be careful in sunlight: the Fresnel lens used in this project can focus enough sunlight to cause burns, melt your flash attachment, or set fires.
Project Idea
thumbnail Why is it more comfortable to wear light-colored clothes on a hot summer day? Why wear a dark-colored jacket for early-morning fishing on a cold lake? How much difference can it make? Here's a project where you can quantify how much difference color makes for absorbing heat. Read more
Phys_p030
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision required for drilling jar lids.
Project Idea
Solar cells provide a clean way of making electricity directly from sunlight. In this project you will build a simple circuit and experimental setup to investigate whether the power output of a solar cell changes with ambient temperature. Read more
Energy_p012
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must know or must learn how to use a voltmeter or multimeter.
Material Availability Specialty item: digital thermometer with probe
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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