"Big data" is exactly what it sounds like, a really large amount of data. Science has always been at the forefront of gathering, visualizing, and trying to make sense of massive data sets. For example, think of the more than 661,000 (and counting) asteroids that have been discovered in our solar system. Or ponder that 1.2 million species have been caught, identified, classified, and catalogued on Earth. And then there are the approximately 3 billion base pairs sequenced from the human genome. Even before there was a term for it, scientists have been amassing and analyzing big data.

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There is a lot of energy that can be harvested from moving water. Energy can be extracted from water rushing over a waterfall and from the regular patterns of the ocean's tides. The energy that propels waves forward in the oceans can also be extracted and used. But can wave energy power plants be built anywhere there is water? In this energy science fair project, you will use ocean buoy data and mathematics to determine which locations along the coasts of the United States can sustain a wave… Read more
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The Milky Way is the edgewise view of our home galaxy, a disk made up of billions of stars. The Sun resides on one of the spiral arms of the disk, 30,000 light-years from the thick hub of the galaxy. The actual center, with a black hole 3-4 million times the Sun's mass, is hidden by dust clouds in space. In this astronomy science fair project, you will use astronomical data to locate the center of this galaxy. Read more
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Have you ever wondered how playing in a certain stadium affects how well the athletes perform? Major League Baseball (MLB) is played in ballparks that have their own individual quirks when it comes to the exact layout of the field. How an individual ballpark affects player performance, which is known as ballpark effects, is heavily investigated in the field of baseball. To name just a few parks and their different traits, Fenway Park (the long-time home ballpark for the Boston Red Sox in… Read more
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Believe it or not, scientists were recently able to recover tissue from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil! Not only were they able to purify non-mineralized tissue, but they also succeeded in obtaining partial sequence information for protein molecules in the T. rex tissue. In this genomics science fair project, you will use the T. rex's protein sequence to search sequence databases for the its closest living relatives. Read more
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Harmful algal blooms occur when algae, which form the base of the ocean food web, grow in massive numbers and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. In this project you will learn how to use archived data from continuous monitoring stations on the Chesapeake Bay to study how water quality measurements (dissolved oxygen (DO), salinity, temperature, pH, turbidity, and total chlorophyll) change before, during, and after harmful algal blooms. Read more
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When an earthquake happens, how are scientists able to determine the original location of the quake? In this project, you'll use archived data from a network of seismometers to find out for yourself. You'll create your own seismograms from the comfort of your own computer with an easy-to-use webpage interface. Then you'll analyze your seismograms to determine the distance of the quake from each seismometer station. By mapping your analyzed data, you will be able to determine the location of the… Read more
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Big data is one of the most promising and hyped trends in technology and business today. Big data refers to data-analysis jobs that are too large and complex to be analyzed by applications that are traditionally used. Big data sets hold valuable information. Many publicly available data sets have the potential to improve our everyday lives by giving us insight into the things we care about. How well-equipped are we to extract information from the data? Visualizations and aggregations (or… Read more
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Scientists have known for hundreds of years that sunspot activity waxes and wanes over a cycle that lasts approximately 11 years. In the 1970's, scientists discovered that the sun periodically blasts electrified gases into space, in huge outbursts called 'coronal mass ejections,' or CMEs. This project asks the question: do CMEs follow the solar sunspot cycle? Read more
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The Ring of Fire is a region of volcanic and earthquake activity that surrounds the Pacific Ocean. In this project you can explore the connection between plate tectonics and volcanic activity by mapping historical data. Read more
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Have you ever wondered what life is like for different animals, and where it is that they roam? For example, how large is the area they live in, and why do they go to different locations? While we can set up cameras to watch animals that live on land, it can more challenging to see the lives of animals that live underwater, especially in the vast oceans. In this ocean science project, you will use satellite tracking data to learn about the activity patterns of harbor porpoises. How far do they… Read more
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Free science fair projects.