1 Photo in Education
Trevor Sylvester captured the first place — the Mt. Washington Observatory Emerging Scientist Award — at this year's Mt. Washington Valley Regional Science and Technology Science Fair. (COURTESY PHOTO)
By Huntington Barclay
Just 14 years old and an eighth grader at the local White Mountain Waldorf School, Trevor Sylvester captured the first place — the Mt. Washington Observatory Emerging Scientist Award — at this year's Mt. Washington Valley Regional Science and Technology Science Fair.
How'd he do it? Simply by thinking big — really big. He wanted to know if a rail-gun could propel an object into outer space. His conclusion after months of pondering and experimentation was — no. The machinery to do it would have to be so massive that it would be effectively impossible to make here on earth.
Using bearings and rare earth magnets, he found that rolling the first bearing to the end of a one foot track transferred kinetic energy from the magnet to the next bearing, propelling it forward at a higher speed. The more this was repeated, the higher the energy count and the faster the bearing speed. Seeing his demo was almost —shocking.
The visitor would roll the first bearing down the track and, on contact with the magnet, 'BANG'...one could feel the power as the small balls shot against the back wall of the exhibit. I know I was impressed. I came away wondering what had happened. When I interviewed him at the Waldorf Mayfair he almost casually told me that he used sound waves to calculate that the first one-foot board would propel it's bearing to the end at 1/39th of a second. Further calculations convinced him however that the bearings could never make it into deep space.
Is Trevor a budding genius who will soon be discovered by the military to work on black ops? "Not me" he says. While the experiment was an interesting project, he loves nature and wants to become a game warden. Probably a good choice, for now. But when the big brass arrive at his door in a few years with an offer he can't refuse, he just might have a change of heart.
I also want to congratulate our alumni — Eva Drummond for winning second place and Samantha Carus for winning third place.
Huntington Barclay is proud a White Mountain Waldorf School parent.
- Category: Education