Kazakh Science Students Head to Arizona for Science Fair

ASTANA – Four high school students from Kazakhstan will fly to Phoenix, Arizona as finalists in an international science and engineering competition for teenagers.

Senior high school students from Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Belarus have qualified as finalists in the 64th Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held on May 12-17 in Phoenix.

Twelve regional competitions were held in each of the 12 Commonwealth of Independent States CIS) countries. The Daryn Science and Engineering Competition in Kazakhstan received 16,837 applications, from which 500 finalists were selected.

The winners included two seniors from the Zhautykov Specialized Physics and Mathematics Secondary Boarding School. Serikzhan Raushan from Almaty presented a project proving “the existence of a calculated sequence, not described by finite state automaton.”

Ayman Zhumakaeva from the Daryn Regional School for Gifted Children in Karaganda will present her project on the use of electrical technology to create exchangers for heat recovery in shallow soil.

The finalists with the third project are Balzhan Bekenova and Zere Smailova from gymnasiums No. 159 and No. 148 in Almaty. Their project researched ionic modification and plasma treatment of aluminium on titanium surfaces.

“The projects presented by school students in the final of Intel ISEF are characterized by their serious fundamental approach and high applied meaning. We hope their performances will be successful and will be a starting point for further research,” said Natalia Myakova, director of Intel ISEF in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Intel ISEF is a programme run by the Society for Science and the Public. It holds the largest world international pre-college science competition.

The competition is open for students in grades 9–12. It provides an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 70 countries to display their research. More than 20 winners later became Nobel laureates and three have won Fields awards, one of the highest awards in mathematics.

In 2012, Kazakhstan student Assiya Kussainova from the Daryn Specialised School for Gifted Children in Almaty won a category in the competition. It was the first time anyone from this country had. She received a prize of $5,000.

Kussainova designed a wind turbine that could work efficiently at low speeds and won first place in electrical and mechanical engineering. Most wind turbines do not generate power efficiently at wind speeds below 10 metres per second and cannot operate at all when wind speeds drop below 5 metres per second. However, Kussainova demonstrated that substituting long, rotating cylinders for the more-aerodynamic blades found on most standard wind turbines could enable the turbines to generate power at wind speeds as low as 3 metres per second.

The first place winners in each of 17 categories received cash awards worth $5,000. Second through fourth place competitors received cash awards of $500 and higher. Other awards included scholarships.

Russia will present 20 projects at the ISEF fair, Ukraine six, Moldova four, and Azerbaijan and Belarus three each.

The finalists will present projects in mathematics, chemistry, physics, informatics and programming. The competition judges include professors from major American scientific institutions and senior officials from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery) and some Nobel laureates. The ISEF fair has been held annually since 1950. In 1996, the Intel Corporation became its sponsor.

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