KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - It was a battle of underage scientists at Kilgore College today. There were no fisticuffs though. There usually aren’t at a science fair.
It was a battle of underage scientists at Kilgore College today. There were no fisticuffs though. They’re usually aren’t at a science fair.
Ah, the East Texas Regional Science Fair, a place where every other student has a spewing volcano.
“Is your project a volcano?” I asked a potential future scientist.
“No,” he replied.
Well, there must be one around here somewhere; I mean they were all over the place when I was a kid.
Rather than a volcano, Lufkin Senior Brent Pigg and his partner Abby Mason decided on the impact of different disinfectants on E. coli. They thought that bleach would do the trick:
“Because of how high the PH level was, since it was so basic. But hydrogen peroxide was actually the one that ended up killing the most,” Brent said.
Well, I should have issued a spoiler alert on that one, since he gave away the ending pretty quick. But, why E. Coli?
“We wanted to use a bacteria that was easily accessible and really common and you’re more likely to come in contact with E. coli than salmonella or any other common diseases,” Abby revealed.
But, it seems you only find it when you don’t want it so they bought some.
“I didn’t know they sold E.coli,” I commented.
“I didn’t either until this year,” Abby responded.
“I don’t think I’d purchase any,” I said.
“I wouldn’t either unless it was for the science fair,” Abby laughed.
Kilgore College Professor of Geology Paul Buchanan runs the show and has a bank of judges who have their work cut out for them. Last year there were 111 projects.
“This year it’s 173,” Paul said.
That’s a whole lot of judging. Paul says the projects are:
“Very creative, very self motivated. There’s some really interesting, sort of creative projects that aren’t out of a textbook or anything like that, that the kids have come up with themselves.”
“I hope we’ll do good and I think we’ll do good because we’ve got a solid baseline for our project,” Brent said.
After the students left for lunch I noticed a group of judges gathered around the E. coli killer project.
And a few minutes earlier I got excited because I saw a project with “Erupts” in its title.
“I see that erupts is in the name here, so are you guys doing a volcano?”
“No, sir,” said sixth grade Gilmer Intermediate student Sadie Henson.
Well, I wasn’t the only one bummed about the volcano thing. There was that geology professor too.
“We don’t have any geology projects this year,” Paul said.
So, at least for now the volcano is dormant.
Finalists in the junior and senior divisions advance to state which will be held in College Station where they have a chance to win scholarships. The overall winner was Madison Perkins from Gilmer who had a water quality project. She will advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair.
The E. coli disinfectant project was a favorite of the judges and will advance to state competition.