Noah Reid, only 9 years old and a fourth-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary, was explaining to the attentive judges his detailed research in taste and smell.
On the other side of the Bryan Station High School gymnasium, Yuke Wang, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High, expounded on his work in real-time visualization of nuclear spectroscopy data — something dealing with viewing the structure of matter.
There was brainpower in abundance at Saturday’s 34th annual Kentucky American Water-Fayette County Public Schools Science Fair.
The gymnasium floor was filled with students’ scientific exhibits, ranging in topic from computers to medicine and health.
More than 700 Fayette County public and private students from grades four through 12 participated in the fair. Many had their families and friends on hand to encourage them.
“It’s a big deal for these students,” said David Helm, science content specialist for Fayette County schools. He has been involved with the fair for 27 years and has organized it the last 11 years.
Winners at Saturday’s event will go to regional competition and can advance to state and international fairs, he said.
A major part of the fair, said Helm, is the 230 judges. “We get university students, science teachers, scientists, all kinds of experts to judge.”
Susan McLaughlin Jones, a physics teacher at Lafayette High School, helped judge Saturday’s computer science entries.
“They are pretty well above grade level. The students are doing a fantastic job,” she said.
Lucy Wanakello, a doctoral student in biomedicine at the University of Kentucky, said she looks for creativity and innovation when she is judging the exhibits. Hasanki Warnakuls, a second-year medical student at UK, said she looks for the student’s personal interest in the project.
Chakrapani Gudlavalleti, a sixth-grader at Winburn Middle School, had an exhibit on the effects of man-made barriers on landslides.
His project, he said, could save lives and money for the government that has invested in infrastructure.
So does the student have dreams of someday becoming scientists like his parents — father, Srinivas Gudlavalleti, an engineer, or mother, Lakshmi Gudlavalleti, a mathematician?
“No, he said. “Maybe a lawyer.”
Overall Grade Winners and Their Schools
▪ Karthika Hariprasad, Wellington, Grade 4
▪ Owen Mickelwait, Liberty, Grade 5
▪ Chakrapani Gudlavalleti, Winburn, Grade 6
▪ Kiera Fehr, E. J. Hayes, Grade 7
▪ Olivia Lee, Fayette County Home School, Grade 8
▪ Rachel Seevers , P. L. Dunbar, High School