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!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Good example of simulation of solar system formation - testing theories and models

Scientists use advanced computer simulations to test theories. For anyone who has done even basic programming, mathematical equations can be put into code and the computer does the calculations. For simulations, this takes the equations from some theory or mathematical model and runs them to see what happens in one tiny amount of time, called a time step. For something like a solar system, where everything is moving and things like the gravitational force, acceleration, speeds, energy, momentum, radius from other objects, and so on, are all changing constantly, by advancing an object through some small time then allows the computer to re-calculate all of those quantities through another small time interval, readjusts where everything is, and then re-computes the next advancement of all quantities, over and over and over again. This is why fast computers are needed for simulations with multiple objects moving around and interacting with each other, such as through gravity.

In the end, astronomers can use the relevant mathematics like Newton's laws of gravity and motion, and even corrections coming from Einstein's general theory of relativity, to create a simulation for the creation and evolution of our solar system over billions of years of simulated time. This is a computer experiment that produces results from a theory, that can then be compared directly to the present structure and behavior of the actual solar system. If there is agreement, of course we then have good confidence that the theory is valid and providing some understanding for how Nature works.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Potential mathematics-based research: fractal patterns in geology

As I watch a Netflix show, "Forces of Nature," there are stunning aerial photos of crevices in the earth's surface. These look more like patterns in fern leaves, or of artery networks of the body. Perhaps there are students who are interested in learning about and applying fractal geometry to the analysis natural systems. Geological features of the earth could provide some interesting possibilities for such a study. This could be done locally in various parts of the country if one had a drone to get some aerial photos of nearby locations, and see what type of geometrical/fractal patterns exist and may be interesting to analyze. Other students may be interested in trying to explain how and why such patterns are formed in the first place.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Regeneron Science Talent Search Semifinalists

See the names of the 300 Regeneron Science Talent Search Semifinalist Scholars when they are announced on January 9, 2019!  You can find the list here. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

For Biologists - The 'Tree of Life' interactive site

If you have not seen this and are interested in biology, check out an interactive site where you can zoom in on any branch of the 'tree of life' to find out information on just about any organism you want. It is a fascinating site of which you should be aware, whether it helps with research or not.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Congratulations to all seniors who submitted to the Regeneron STS!!

Last week, likely some 1500+ seniors around the country, who have been working on research projects over long periods of time, submitted applications and papers describing their research to the Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS). Congratulations to all of them!

The STS is the 'Nobel Prize for High Schools,' where ultimately one student will take home a $250,000 top prize. This will occur after 300 national semifinalists are selected, and then 40 national finalists from that group. The goal of this contest is find the most promising scientific talent in the nation - thirteen finalists in the STS have gone on to win the actual Nobel!

One may think they must be working on cancer cures in order to win, but students can work in anything and be eligible. It is quite an accomplishment to write up one's work and defend it, which is all part of the science process. Congratulations to those seniors who took on this challenge!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

If interested in writing up your work - examples of student papers

For those students who take on science research, a key part of the process is to write up results and share with the science community by publishing your work. For high school students, this is entirely possible and should be seriously considered. But there is an issue with technical science writing - most high school students, and many teachers for that matter, do not have extensive, if any, real experience with technical writing along the lines of what a professional would publish in a journal.

Check out good examples of student papers, almost all of which were submitted to science contest at the state or national level (and almost all had some sort of state or national recognition). It is good practice to use others' work as models and guides to understand the style and formatting for this type of writing, especially if you have an interest in submitting to a local science fair or a state or national contest.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Teachers and Students: Try to Publish your basement science work as a class lab!

I want to encourage teachers and students to, when appropriate, publish articles in professional journals as co-authors for some of your 'basement science' research projects. If you have a project that really does use simple, affordable equipment, and it is effective in getting measured or observed results, share it with the broader high school education community. For example, in physics the leading professional journal for high schools is The Physics Teacher (TPT), published from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). For high school science, The Science Teacher (TST) is the leading general journal put out by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). I'm sure there are other teacher journals out there in other disciplines. The point is, these professional organizations have publications that go out to thousands and tens of thousands of members on a monthly basis, and they are looking to publish creative, doable activities that many other teachers and students may be interested in. These organizations also put on multiple national and regional conferences every year, and those are a chance to share your results and work so others may use it or some variation of what you've done.

Some examples of research project work I have published in TPT and TST are with hydraulic jump, Faraday waves on vibrated droplets, temperature dependence of kinetic friction, and a mechanical system that behaves in a counterintuitive way. Three of these papers were co-written with students, and all were presented in a way that could be used as a classroom lab or inquiry activity, as well as modified to make new, novel research projects. Other students who had professor mentors have published in various journals, as well. Note that it is a rarity for high school students to be published in peer reviewed journals while still in high school. The exposure to your work is much greater than just posting on social media, where thousands of colleagues have access to it rather than perhaps a few dozen who follow you (unless you happen to have thousands of other teachers following you, but that is a rarity).

Publishing with students is great fun because it allows them to actually go through the entire research project, build their professional resume, and learn about the vital role of publication in science. Also, they see firsthand the process of publication, and how one may need to have a back and forth with the editor and anonymous reviewers, over many months time periods, before it is worthy of publication. Give it a try and have fun with it!