Howard Shapiro, Provost's Office, (515) 294-6365
Laura Boskelly, News Service, (515) 294-6881
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Ever wonder if you're eating enough french fries? Or if there is such a thing as sun block for plants? Do you question the impact of wellness programs on physical fitness? These are some of the questions that will be explored at the 2000 Iowa State Science and Technology Fair.

Students from across Iowa will be showing off their best science projects at the fair, which will be held March 31-April 1. Science fair events are free and open to the public.

"The science fair is a great benefit to students because it allows them to develop their knowledge and skills in science and technology," said Howard Shapiro, ISU vice provost and chair of the science fair board. "Iowa's best and brightest students participate in the science fair and it is amazing to see the level of science at which they perform."

The fair is the only statewide general science fair for middle- and high-school students in Iowa. Science fair exhibits will be on display in Hilton Coliseum Friday, 12:30-9 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The fair concludes Saturday with an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

A special seminar on new discoveries in astronomy will be one of this year's fair features. The seminar, "To the Edge of the Universe: New Telescopes, New Tools, New Discoveries," will be held 7 p.m., March 31, in the Benton Auditorium of the Scheman Building. Three ISU astronomy professors will talk about how new technologies are opening the heavens and helping us understand our place in the universe. The event is free and open to the public.

Science fair entries are broadly divided in physical and biological sciences at three levels: seventh grade, eighth grade and senior (ninth through twelfth grades). Prizes will be awarded at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels. High school winners receive scholarships as well as other prizes.

The value of awards to be given out this year is approximately $30,000. The Iowa Space Grant Consortium will sponsor a $5,000, four-year tuition grant, which can be used at any of Iowa's Regents universities or Drake University.

Last year, more than 430 students participated in the fair. Brooke Finley of Stuart, Iowa, won a $10,000 scholarship for her project, "Toxic Fish, Phase III."

"We expect the students participating in this year's fair to have equally exciting projects on display, and we invite everyone to come see them," Shapiro said.

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