Discovery Communications, Inc., has announced the names of 400 middle school students selected as semifinalists in the 2004 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. The nation's premier science contest for students in grades 5 - 8, the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC) encourages the discovery, exploration and communication of science and celebrates the innovative scientists of tomorrow. Students were chosen from the initial pool of 75,000 students who entered science fairs nationwide.
Three students from the state of Colorado were named DCYSC semifinalists.
Kara Berg, grade 7, of Denver, CO, was selected by DCYSC judges as a semifinalist for her project entitled Bacterial Contamination of Restroom Door Handles. Kara took 1st Place in Microbiology at CSEF.
Jeffrey Goodrich, grade 8, of Grand Junction, CO, was selected by DCYSC judges as a semifinalist for his project entitled First Electric R/C VTOL Airplane: Will It Fly? Jeffrey took 2nd Place in Engineering at CSEF.
Daniel Neligh, grade 8, of Denver, CO, was selected by DCYSC judges as a semifinalist for his project entitled, Erosional Investigations. Daniel took 1st Place in Earth & Space Sciences at CSEF.
"This year's competition continues the tradition we've established of making science fun for middle school students while cultivating the next generation of American scientists," said Kyle O'Connor, Vice President, Discovery Communications. "What is clear from the quality of the entries this year is that the future of science in the United States is bright. The breadth of knowledge and curiosity demonstrated by the 400 semifinalists is inspiring."
About the Semifinalists
The 400 semifinalists come from 41 states and Puerto Rico and were selected from a pool of 1,795 formal entries. In total, 75,000 students who entered science fairs nationwide were eligible to compete. The top five states represented by the 400 are Florida (172), Missouri (126), Ohio (92), California (90) and Texas (90). The 400 semifinalists are split nearly evenly between girls and boys and range in age from 10 to 15.
The 400 projects selected to advance to the semifinals run the scientific gamut, from biochemistry to physics, from zoology to health, and from mathematics to engineering. All the projects were developed with clear-eyed precision and showcased a level of complexity that might make the average adult's head spin. Beyond the originality and excellence of these original projects, semifinalists were also chosen for their ability to effectively communicate the reasoning and purpose behind their projects.
"These students exhibit an intellectual maturity that is truly remarkable," said Steve Jacobs, DCYSC Head Judge. "Even more impressive, and a fundamental part of our competition, is their success in explaining their work to others, a prerequisite of scientific leadership."
The countdown to choosing America's top young scientist continues next month, on September 20, when the field of 40 semifinalists is narrowed by the DCYSC judges to the "final Forty." These 40 finalists will come to Washington, DC October 23 - 27, where they will take part in the DCYSC finalist competition at the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. The finalists will compete in team-based, interactive challenges centered on the theme of Einstein's physics. The students will compete for more than $100,000 worth of scholarships and special prizes, as well as the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."
Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge Background
In 1999, Discovery created DCYSC to be a part of the solution to America's chronic underachievement in science and math. The contest responds to evidence that academic performance and interest in science among American students declines dramatically as students get older - particularly during the middle school years.
The DCYSC identifies and honors America's top middle school student who demonstrates the best skills in leadership, teamwork and scientific problem solving. In addition, the ability to be an effective science communicator - a goal that reflects Discovery's philosophy that scientific knowledge is most valuable when it is communicated and shared - is a key component of the judging.
Science Service administers the DCYSC. One of the most respected nonprofit organizations advancing the cause of science, Science Service has a sterling reputation for conducting high-quality competitions on the national and international level, including the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
More than 7,500 students have entered the DCYSC since its inception. Winners have received more than $400,000 in scholarship awards, federal government recognition and participated in science-related trips that have taken them to the far corners of the globe.
Discovery Communications, Inc. is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in 160 countries and territories with over 1 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI's 60 networks of distinctive programming represent 14 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel, Discovery en Espanol, HD Theater and The Health Network. DCI's other properties consist of Discovery.com and 120 Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI's ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder, Chairman, and CEO.