April 21, 2015

University to host state science exposition

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will play host to a bevy of budding young scientists next month during the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition. 

The event, set for May1-2 at the SIU Arena, is sponsored the Office of the President.  Entry displays will be on view for the public from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2. There is no charge for admission. 

The event follows IJAS regional science fairs – one of which was held at SIU on March 5 – which determined who would advance to the state exposition. About 350 junior high and high school students participated in that event, held at the Student Center. Projects ranged from aerospace to behavioral science, health and zoology, and more than 150 SIU faculty and graduate students volunteered their time to act as judges to select about 60 projects to advance. 

This is the first time SIU Carbondale will host the state exposition, and more than 1,400 students from all over Illinois will exhibit their projects. The students represent some of the best and brightest aspiring scientists, engineers, designers and problem solvers in the state.  They will compete for scholarships, best in category awards and other awards valued at more than $15,000.  

Students can compete in an oral presentation exposition of their investigation, or they can compete in a project display competition.  Student presentations for this event include those on consumer and behavioral science, engineering, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, astronomy and astrophysics, and more. 

The IJAS also sponsors an essay and artistic design competition.  This year’s theme is “Chemistry has all the Solutions!”  Boyd Goodson, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SIU, will give a presentation titled “Putting a New Spin on MRI.” 

Kathy Pericak-Spector, professor in the Department of Mathematics at SIU and IJAS president, said students learn many important tools when conducting research.  

“They take a problem that they are interested in and do background research, hypothesize, gather data, interpret results, and draw conclusions.  These are concepts that they will use throughout their life,” she said. 

The IJAS research competitions are aligned with Illinois State Learning Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in Science and Technology Subjects. 

For more information about IJAS visit the website at www.ijas.org or contact IJAS President Kathy Pericak-Spector at kpericak.math.siu.edu@gmail.com.