If you drop by the 2003 International Science and Engineering Fair to meet the world's brightest high school brainiacs, ask them about their award-winning science projects. "You'll feel smart by just interacting with these students," claims Clint Tanner, spokesperson for Science Service, the organization that runs the fair.
Billed as the world's largest pre-college science fair, ISEF brings together thousands of high school students (some as young as 12) at the Cleveland Convention Center, where their projects compete in 14 different science and engineering categories. "Over 10 percent of these kids already have patents or are in the process of [obtaining] patents," Tanner says. "Over the last couple of years, we've had kids that engineered a robot to help rescue people stuck in ice. We've had people find genes that could possibly cure diseases. Last year's winner designed a glove that translated sign language into written text."
The fair will drawing contestants from as far away as China, competing in such categories as biochemistry, physics, and math. There's $3 million in scholarships and tuition grants up for grabs, as well as a trip to the Nobel prize ceremonies in Stockholm. Feel stupid yet? The science fair takes place at the Cleveland Convention Center, 500 Lakeside Avenue, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.intelisef2003.org. -- Keith Gribbins
This club gets down and dirty.
Alice Phillips has a bug to pick. Once a month, between March and November, the Summit County Metro Parks naturalist rounds up 30 kids and their parents for Bug Club, a down-on-your-knees insect search. With nets, jars, and spoons, kids scour the park's hills for beetles, spiders, and butterflies. Once they've captured the bugs (alive, hopefully), they inspect them under microscopes. Afterward, the critters are returned to the woods. Sure, boys go nuts for it, but the Bug Club also explodes the sugar-and-spice myth: "Sometimes the girls go 'ick,' but they don't mean it," Phillips says. No, they're just talking about the boys. Bug Club meets at 2 p.m. Saturday at F.A. Seiberling Naturealm, 1828 Smith Road in Akron. Admission is free; call 330-865-8065. -- Cris Glaser