2012 BHP Billiton Science Awards Announced

The BHP Billiton Science Awards are Australia's most prestigious school science awards. They reward young people who have undertaken practical research projects, which demonstrate innovative approaches and thorough scientific procedures, and outstanding contributions made by classroom teachers to science education.

The 2012 BHP Billiton Science Awards were announced recently at a ceremony at Scienceworks. The finalists gathered with their families, teachers and representatives from the teaching and science communities. Nobel laureatte, Prof Brian Schmidt, shared his experience of working in a scientific field and encouraged the students to be passionate, persistent and resilient; qualities that the finalists are already starting to display.

For more information about entering the BHP Billiton Science Awards, and this year's finalists, visit www.scienceawards.org.au

VSSEC would like to congratulate all the finalists and the following winners:

First Place: Ethan Butson
The Illawarra Grammar School, NSW

Ethan worked with primary school children to improve their knowledge of UV radiation and UV exposure using the UView Protector badge. This circular sticker badge accurately measures ultra violet radiation and allowed Ethan to significantly improve other students' knowledge of UV radiation as well as educate them about when and where they are exposed to it.

Second Place: Jessica Garrett
Telopea Park School, ACT

While helping her father recover from a very severe stroke, Jessica noticed that deeply patterned or multi-coloured carpets adversely affected his walking during rehabilitation. Her project presents results from interviews and observations, which demonstrate that colour and pattern on a carpet significantly influences the walking speed and confidence levels of recovering left hemiplegic stroke patients.

Third Place: I-Ji Jung
Queensland Academy of Health Sciences, QLD

I-Ji's project examined the use of sodium polyacrylate as an economical alternative to conventional wastewater treatment methods. The polyacrylate was used to filter out copper, zinc and lead from aqueous solutions. Increasing masses of sodium polyacrylate resulted in a greater amount of heavy metal removal from the water. More research needs to be done to mimic actual wastewater but I-Ji suggests sodium polyacrylate could be a viable alternative to treating some key contaminated waterways in Queensland.

National Winner: Michael van Der Ploeg
Table Cape Primary School, Science Teachers Association of Tasmania