From Tesla Coils to Chaos Theory: “Jugend forscht”at SMA
This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.
“Do you have an idea that you just can’t get out of your head?”: That was the motto for the “Jugend forscht” youth science competition in Germany this year. It was the sixth time that the North Hesse regional rounds for new, young researchers took place at SMA. The date? February 23rd. The number of competitors? More than 90 children and teenagers who participated and presented their ideas to a jury of experts, setting a new participation record. Let’s slow down and take things one step at a time. 😉
40 Ambitious and Extraordinary Projects
Manja and Lin present a cell phone project
Saturday morning, 7:30 a.m. There’s quite a bit going on at SMA Building 61. The research teams at the competition will be presenting their results at their own individual booths, where everything will have to work out to perfection. Countless posters are being put up, experiments are being carefully prepared, and exhibits are being set up at breakneck speed. And what a sight it is! The things that these young researchers have come up with are simply amazing. Jan and Alex, for example, have built a diffusion cloud chamber, while Konstantin and Maurice have measured the speed of light. Quite a few futuristic ideas are also on display, going all the way from voice-controlled homes, through microalgae as a source of energy, to a design for a robot hand.
40 experiments were shown
At 9 a.m., everyone gets to take a breather. After an official welcome, the competitors have breakfast together and get ready. Things are about to get serious. The jury goes around all the booths, taking its time with each team and carefully evaluating the work on display. The young competitors, who have been preparing for this very moment, remain composed while they give a detailed account of their research.
Prizes Are Awarded And the Stage Is Set For the Next Round In Darmstadt
Finally, every competitor receives their prize
After everyone gets together for lunch (where spaghetti with tomato sauce has become a much-appreciated tradition), the building is opened to anyone who wants to take a look at what these young minds have accomplished. Family, friends, and the press stop by while the jury gets together and deliberates. Then, the afternoon brings the highlight of the day with it: At the ceremony, where the SMA a cappella choir sings to enhance the already festive mood, every competitor gets to receive their prize. And the results are clear: Six of our young researcher teams qualify for the next round of the competition by landing in first place, earning them a spot at the state rounds in Darmstadt. We would like to congratulate all of you and are of course keeping our fingers crossed.
About the Competition
The competition, held by the Jugend forscht e. V. Foundation, is meant to serve as an outlet for young people to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the fields of biology, chemistry, geosciences, space science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Young people compete in one of two categories: 15 to 21-year-olds participate in the actual “Jugend forscht” regional competition, while competitors who are 14 years old or younger get to present their research projects in the “Schüler experimentieren” category.