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Meet Your Intel ISEF Experts!

Postby scibudadmin » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:15 pm

Science Buddies is pleased to introduce three individuals who have a wealth of knowledge about Intel ISEF and other top science competitions. They are here to respond to your questions and help prepare you for ISEF.

Terik Daly (winner of the Intel ISEF "Best in Category" Grand Award, three time JSHS finalist, Intel STS Semifinalist, Siemens Semifinalist, and winner of the "Best Project" award in the California State Science Fair) has earned more than $50,000 in cash, scholarships, trips, computers, software, and more. You can, too! He'll help you put together a powerful display board, answer all your judging questions, bring you up to date on what to expect, how to dress, and more. Need help understanding the rules and regulations of the Intel ISEF? No problem. Terik now works with SRC committees and fair directors; he's a one-stop shop for all your Intel ISEF questions.

Amber Hess is currently a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at MIT. In 2005 she was an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist, a semifinalist for the Siemens Westinghouse competition, and won a First Place Grand Award in Chemistry at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which she also attended in 2003. She was a Mentor in the Science Buddies Online Mentoring Program for three years and also wrote a number of articles for Science Buddies. You can read more about her top science competition experiences in "Amber's 2005 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Blog" and "Judging Tips for Top Science Competitions" on the Science Buddies website.

Justin Spahn is currently a sophomore and majoring in aeronautical and mechanical engineering at UC Davis. In 2007 he attended the Intel ISEF in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the Energy and Transportation category. His project dealt with the design efficiency of the curvature of airplane wings. He has edited and written several projects in Science Buddies’ Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics project idea section, and developed the Science Buddies wind tunnel design. He is a Science Buddies representative with a local Californian ISEF-affiliated science fair, so he has a good deal of firsthand information about science fairs of all levels.

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Postby krishadesai » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:03 pm

What topics do you recommend to win Intel? Where can you find equipment for complicated topics?

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Re: ISEF Topics

Postby benjaminpollack » Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:17 am

Students enter their research from a variety of categories There are 17 different categories you can conduct reserach in. A complete list of the Intel ISEF category list can be found at:

There are no "best" categories to be in. Conduct research in an area that interests you. The judges are not just looking for good research, they are looking for passionate researchers.

When you develop a topic, let us know and we will be happy to direct you in finding the equipment that you will need.

Some great information that Science buddies has assembled regarding top science competitions can be found at:

Good Luck!!! Let us know what topic your interested in.
Benjamin Pollack
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Re: Meet Your Intel ISEF Experts!

Postby Trader » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:08 am

I've briefly looked at ... ards.shtml

And at the high school levels, especially the ISEF I see:
* Majority of projects are original research
* Many projects done in a university research setting under a college professor
* 10-15% of participants file patents on their work
* Many publish results in a scientific journal

Would original research include testing similar hypothesis, only by reasonably altering a certain variable such as from temperature to pH for a certain experiment? I am not too sure about the degree of "originality" :P, because it seems like some file patents on their work too D=.

In addition, I'm a high school student and it doesn't look like I have the relations to access a "university research setting under a college professor"..., how would that perhaps be different from a "high school research setting under a high school teacher?"

:) Thank you for answering.
Trader - scientist wannabe =)

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Re: Meet Your Intel ISEF Experts!

Postby tdaly » Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:02 pm


Original research an mean a lot of different things. I'm not sure what you mean by "testing similar hypothesis, only be reasonably altering a certain variable such as from temperature to pH for a certain experiment." Can you elaborate further to help me better understand this? To be original or significant, your project needs to contribute something new to the body of science. You may be solving or addressing a particular problem in a new way, developing or refining an existing methodology, or finding the answer to an as of yet unanswered question. To get a sense of what would be original or significant in your particular subject area, you should try to become as familiar as possible with the peer-reviewed literature in your subject area. This will help you understand what has already been done, what people are currently doing, and what needs to be done. Reading such papers will be difficult at first, but if you really take the time to go through them thoroughly and make sure you understand each one, you will find that it gets easier to read them. There really is no substitute for familiarity with the literature.

As to your second paragraph, there really is no problem with a high school research setting under a high school teacher. Many students who go to ISEF do their work in such a setting. The real concern is quality and significance: if you do your project in a high school setting, it needs to be comparable to the quality of work being done by a student in a university setting. Taking the time to become familiar with the literature will help you with this. In addition, asking questions here on the Ask an Expert Forums is a great resource for you. Here you can have professional scientists and engineers respond to your questions and give advice about how to make your project the best and most competitive it can be.
All the best,

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