Danielle Appavoo’s father frequently complains about how much waste he creates as a doctor.
“They only use their gloves for two minutes and then they have to throw them out,” she said.
“Every new person they see, they have to use a new pair.”
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So Appavoo, a Grade 8 student, developed a biodegradable surgical glove made from potato starch and glycerin. The glove is Appavoo’s entry in the 47th annual Canada Wide Science Fair, which is ongoing this week at the University of Ottawa.
Nearly 500 Grade 7 to 12 students from across Canada are in Ottawa to present inventions or discoveries in areas ranging from biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, to physics and mathematics. All were standouts at their regional qualifiers, and have come here to settle whose project tops the youth science scene in 2008.
At stake is close to $1 million in grants and scholarships, as well as chances for some students to work in research labs.
“Sometimes that kicks off a career … because it goes way beyond what they would learn in a classroom,” said Dan Smythe with the CWSF.
Student-developed concepts range from improvements to modern hockey stick design, to motorized walkers, harnessing wind energy and developing the properties of garlic.
Theron Hlasny and Raef Given, for example, examined whether planes fly better in hot or cold weather.
The duo concluded planes fly better when it’s cold because the air is more dense and gives them more lift.
While few items on display will make the leap to a commercial marketplace, the fair is a good place to scout the country’s potentially top scientific minds of the future. Note: Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar and Research In Motion (of BlackBerry fame) founder Mike Lazaridis are CWSF alumni.
“If you want to go some place where you find kids that are going to cure cancer or develop the alternative energy, these are them,” said Saskatchewan fair delegate, Annette Brockman.