July 23rd, 2003

Winners Named in APS Exhibit Contest

Two teams of high-school students tied for first place in an interactive-exhibit design contest sponsored by the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory. A team from Maine East High School in Park Ridge, IL, and a team from Delphi Community High School in Delphi, IN took the top honors. The APS is a world-class research facility funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

The contest called for student teams from high schools throughout the Midwest to design and build a prototype educational exhibit that demonstrated the scientific principles of synchrotron x-ray science. These principles are the foundation of the forefront research carried out by scientists using the APS for experimentation in many disciplines, including materials science, chemistry, biology, physics, environmental science, planetary science, geology, and nanoscience.

Photo of team with Murray Gibson
Above: The members of the eight finalist teams with APS Director J.M Gibson (far right).

"There is no better way to get exciting exhibits illustrating the science of the APS than asking creative young students to design them; it has been very stimulating both for them and for us," said J. Murray Gibson, Director of the APS.

Third place in the contest went to Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL. A special honorable mention was given to a team from West Leyden High School, West Leyden, IL. All finalist teams attended a presentation ceremony and dinner held recently in the APS auditorium to honor the winning teams.

Other schools participating in the contest were: Morris Community High School, Morris, IL, and West Chicago Community High School, West Chicago, IL.

The teams were required to design exhibits that highlighted one of these themes:

  • What is diffraction?
  • What is x-ray brightness?
  • Scientific uses of x-rays.
  • Making x-rays with an accelerator.
  • How does the APS accelerator work?
  • Studying materials with the APS.
  • Using the APS as a research tool.

The Delphi team's design focused on diffraction. The Maine East team featured a linac, booster and storage ring model. Glenbrook North designed a wave interference tank exhibit. West Leyden's design focused on optical metrology activities.

Photo of the team making final adjustments
Above: The Delphi Community High School team makes final adjustments to their exhibit demonstrating the principles of light diffraction.

"The teams competing in this first-ever event submitted an impressive collection of prototype exhibits, making our judges' job both delightful and agonizing at the same time," said Fred Hartline of Argonne's Division of Educational Programs. "It was tough to choose just three of these incredible projects for the highest honors."

Several organizations donated awards and materials for the contest. Pasco Scientific donated a temperature lab for each of the three top teams' schools. American Science and Surplus donated two $75 and one $25 gift certificates for the top teams' schools. Vernier donated two $75 and one $25 gift certificates for the top teams' schools. The Kendry Company donated materials, provided others at cost, and waived delivery charges. iMedia donated one copy of the CD "Synchrotron Light" and one "Nanpolis" CD for each finalist school.