What is CABS?

This site will help high school students and teachers find original, independent science research topics and questions that can be done without a professional lab...these can be done in a school lab or even in one's basement! The project ideas and research questions being developed and presented here have been vetted and could lead to true discoveries, and not just finding already known results. See our Welcome message. These are the types of projects that could be done and submitted to high school contests such as the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, or the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and be competitive. If you have an idea to share, or a question about one of the project ideas, contact us at vondracekm@eths202.org.

Pages (on the right side of the screen) have lists of ideas for different types of science research projects, and clicking on one of those ideas will take you to posts with details and all sorts of information about that type of project. Get more information about why there is a need for CABS!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Application for Regeneron Science Talent Search open

The Science Talent Search is the biggest and most prestigious high school science contest there is. Run by the Society for Science and the Public and now sponsored by Regeneron, the top prize for an individual student is $250,000! Yes, you read that correctly!

The application is now open for any senior who has done independent, original research. Have fun with it!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

CABS website overview

If you want a brief overview of what this website is all about, and what types of information can be found on various pages, check out this video. Have a look, explore the site, and see if any potential science research questions or topics is interesting - and then try to figure it out by developing your own experimental project!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

CABS as an option if summer research program is cancelled

Due to COVID-19 and state shutdowns, summer research programs and lab opportunities for high school students and undergrads in college have been closing and cancelled. While this is truly disappointing, it is the safe and right thing to do to prevent a possible second-wave of the pandemic.

The CABS approach, which provides options and potential research ideas and questions for different areas of science, does not require professional labs or equipment. While this type of home research is not nearly as 'sexy' as working on cancer treatments or doing low temperature research at nearly absolute zero, it can be legitimate original science research. It can be competitive in local, state and national science contests. It is publishable in high school research platforms and even in teacher professional journals.

Please consider it if you still are interested in going through the science process from scratch. Go to the pages that are linked on the right side of the home page to begin finding research ideas and questions. And stay curious!! That is at the core of being a scientist!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Former students do a CABS type project to help fight COVID-19

Former students, now attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, came up with an idea to help fight COVID-19. Cell phones are things we all use and touch, especially teens and college students, dozens if not hundreds of times per day. And we touch our phones constantly after doing any daily tasks, which involves touching all sorts of other items, sometimes in public spaces. What if there are patches of objects covered by a virus like COVID-19? That means our phones can be covered with the virus and easily transferred to any other location we go. While we hopefully wash our hands, the virus could still be on our phone!

These students found an article with an interesting bit of information, that COVID-19 did not remain on copper surfaces. What if a cheap copper plated cell phone case could be made and sold? The students worked on the specs, got a 3-D printed prototype of a case, and then copper plated it themselves in a garage. They are now getting ready to sell these special cases. Check out how they describe going through this process! 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Worth a watch: Why social distancing and masks are effective in slowing the spread of disease

It is worth watching how scientists can watch what we all put out when we sneeze and talk. Droplets and microdroplets are released into the air and spread, especially in closed spaces. Check out this video to literally see these droplets, some as small as 1 micron (1 millionth of a meter!).

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Biophysics, mechanical engineering option with Onions

A student is doing an interesting project, which she thought of when making dinner one evening. When getting an onion ready for chopping, the thin layers of skin of the onion gained her attention, and project ideas began to be born.

Consider stretching out a layer of onion skin over the opening of a tube and securing the skin so it is a membrane covering the tube. One could then begin to place small, uniform weights on the surface as a measure of strength, before any tears form in the skin layer. One could also try to stretch the skin by pulling on it, perhaps with thread hanging over a small pulley where weights could hang.

With these types of experimental techniques, one could then start using multiple layers of skins and see how those compare to single layers. One could try skins from different types of onions, or from other types of plants. If one found differences between different types of skins, checking out the structures under a microscope could reveal engineering ideas for human-made materials. Biomimetics is a huge area of research, looking for natural materials and patterns that can be translated into practical devices for people, and this type of experiment could be used in that capacity.

Think about other plants and natural objects or structures you could test and explore, and see if there is some information we could gain that could help society.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Faraday waves - could be a rich source of projects

In fluid dynamics, Faraday waves are an interesting phenomenon. Not having a background in fluids, Faraday waves were something I wasn't fully aware of until a student made an accidental discovery. When she was starting to look at vertically shaking a Petri dish of water (inspired by methods of creating oscillons in vertically shaken Petri dishes of granular materials), she noticed patterns of waves on the surface of single drops of water on the oscillator. These are Faraday waves, which can be investigated in a fairly simple experimental setup.

Because the student observed similar waves and phenomena on droplets, and not finding any articles in the literature about formal studies of droplets (past research seemed to be like the university lab linked above - water and other liquids in a container, with boundaries (walls) and a relatively flat, 2-D surface), she decided to pursue it and try and find deviations from 2-D surfaces to a more 3-D, curved surface of a small drop of water. Note that studies like this can also be written up and submitted for publication in teacher journals, where we can offer ideas for classroom demos, labs, inquiry projects, and research projects.

This is a wonderful way to create new, novel research projects. On so many topics and phenomena, look at old experiments, think about the parameters that are relevant to those experiments, and then start thinking about ways of taking different parameters, or combinations of parameters, and thinking about what a new experiment would look like. With Faraday waves, think about other ways of tweaking the more traditional experiments to find new things to look at in slightly different ways. As one suggestion, if a student has access to a 3-D printer, imagine the endless surfaces with different shaped indentations one could make, fill those indentations with small amounts of water or any other liquid, and test to see if Faraday waves are formed, and what their properties are as a function of geometry!