SPIE supports local, state and international science and engineering fairs by providing several Special Awards in Optics and Photonics. Volunteer judges review projects displayed at science fairs and select best projects where students apply optics or photonics related technology to their project.
The Society has awarded over $65,000 in cash awards since 2001 to over 325 talented students from elementary through high school.
SPIE volunteers are welcome to judge optics or photonics related projects at science fairs. If you are interested in volunteering or if you know of a science fair coming up in your area that we should be a part of, contact Ms. Pascale Barnett, Education Services Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2010 SPIE awarded cash prizes totaling over $18,000 to 85 talented students from elementary through high school.
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
San Jose, California 9-15 May 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Neil Ball, Directed Light Inc.; Breck Hitz, LEOMA; and Sven Prevrhal, Phillips Medical Systems Inc.
From left to right: James Popper, Arjun Aggarwal, Amy Chyao and SPIE Judge: Neil Ball, Directed Light Inc.
Amy Chyao (1st Place), Williams High School, Texas
Project: Lights, Quantum Dots, Action!
James S. Popper (2nd Place), Marlborough College, United Kingdom
Project: Cooker Smart IR Fire Detector
Arjun Aggarwal (3rd Place), Lexington High School, South Carolina
Project: Can Concept of Stereo Vision be Applied in Robotics
California State Science Fair
Los Angeles, California (17-18 May 2010)Rafael Cosman and Aaron Schild
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Jeff Güell, Boeing Co., Alex Kazemi, and Albert Okorogu, Aerospace Corp.
(Special Award, Senior Div.), La Jolla High SchoolTeam Project: Sun in Your Eyes? Electrochromic Sun-Tracking Windshield
Tushar Alladi, Parag Kikla and Arun Kuchibhotla
From left to right: J. Güell, A. Kuchibholta, T. Alladi, P. Kikla, A. Kazemi, and A. Okorogu.
(Recognition Award, Senior Div.), Monta Vista High SchoolTeam Project: Real-Time Markerless Hand Computer Interaction
Timothy Le and SPIE Judge Alex Kazemi at the Special Awards Ceremony.Timothy Le
(Special Award, Junior Div.), Sierra Canyon Middle SchoolProject:Which Wind Turbine Blade Design will Produce the Most Power?
Matthew Wong and SPIE Judges at the California State Science Fair.Matthew Wong
(Recognition Award, Junior Div.), Hilldale SchoolProject: Searching for Stability
Ohio State Science Day
Columbus, Ohio 8 May 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Rola Aylo, Univ. of Dayton; Georges Nehmetallah, Univ. of Dayton; and Jason Schmidt (Lead), U.S. Air Force.
Michael Gord (1st Place)
Project: Millimeter-wave and Terahertz Radiation for Standoff Chemical Sensing and Threat Detection: Phase IV
Karin Jorgenson (2nd Place)
Project: Vibrational Frequency of Springs
Jasmine Fujimura (3rd Place)
Project: Bright Ideas
New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair
Socorro, New Mexico 9-10 April 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judge: Hector Erives, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Jeongmin Lee (1st Place), Sierra Middle School
Project: Rotation of Light
Mason Fitzgerald (2nd Place), Fitzgerald Home School
Project: A "Jolly" Good Light
Erick Chavez and Amanda Edington (3rd Place), Deming High School
Team Project: Compact Fluorescent: A Bright Idea?
55th Colorado Science and Engineering Fair
Fort Collins, Colorado 8-10 April 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judge: Bradley Cohen, CDQ Enterprises LLC and Rashid Safaisini, Colorado State Univ.
SPIE Special Award winners at CSEF: Lucia Guatney, Garrett Crownover, Kelli Lynch, Jonah Archuleta, Courtney Ensz and Nathanael RamirezKelly Lynch
(1st Place, Senior Div.), Rocky Mountain High SchoolProject: Irradiation Extermination Part II: A Portable System to Eliminate Water-Borne Microorganism
Garrett Crownover (2nd Place, Senior Div.), Plainview High SchoolLucia Guatney
Project: Laptop Screens: Entertainment or Energy
(3rd Place, Senior Div.), Cherry Creek High SchoolProject: The Feasibility of Solar Light Pressure as a Means of Interstellar PropulsionNathanael Ramirez
(1st Place, Junior Div.), Sargent SchoolProject: The "Light" of Our Lives
Jonah Archuleta (2nd Place, Junior Div.)Courtney Ensz
Project: Refraction Confection
(3rd Place, Junior Div.), Hi-Plains Junior HighProject: Solar Heat
Alabama Science and Engineering Fair
Huntsville, Alabama 2-3 April 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judge:H. Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr.
Nicholas Christensen (Senior Div.), Wetempka High SchoolEmily Duke
Project: 1 Sun + 8 bits - H2O: Digitally Optimizing "Smart" Photovoltaics for a Water Distillation Application
Nicholas developed a system to distill drinking water from contaminated water using photovoltaics as the power supply to drive the electronics and heater system. He also developed the electronics and software to control the system. He licensed this entire system to a company in Taiwan which is field testing it at an industrial site.
(1st Place, Senior Div.), Jefferson County International BaccalaureateProject: The Germicidal Effects of Ultraviolet-C Light on Coliform Found in Pond Water
Emily studied the efficacy of different exposure times of UV-C for killing Coliform contamination in water.Stephen Leahy
(2nd Place, Senior Div.), Catholic High SchoolProject: Construction of a Variable-Angle Photovoltaic Meter and Measurement of Solar Power at Different Times of the Day and Different Angles of Declination
Stephen placed a solar cell onto a camera tripod and using a protractor measured the produced output as a function of angle from level. He also observed that the angular dependence only existed on sunny days and went away on cloudy days.Jonathan Brande
(3rd Place, Senior Div.), Alabama School of Fine ArtsProject: Effects of Simulated Martian Dust Storms on Solar Cell Output
Jonathan built a dust chamber with two optical systems. First was a solar cell and light bulb. The secondd was laser beam and detctor. He measured the simultaneous degradation of output signal from the illuminated solar cell and laser beam detector as a function of dust being blown about the chamber.Nick Simerly
(1st Place, Junior Div), Westminster Christian AcademyProject: Smart Wireless, Energy Efficient Motion Sensor
Nick used a wireless motion sensing system to trigger a video camera to observe objects in the field of view. He studied the strength of signal to noise of his system as a function of the objects size, distance and velocity.Abigail Smith
(2nd Place, Junior Div.), St. John the Baptist Catholic SchoolProject: Suck Up that Solar Power
Abigail studied the output power of a solar cell as a function of pointing it directly at the sun versus pointing it directly south as a function of time of day. She did a trapezoidal integration of total power output from her solar cell for the duration of the day.Hanna Brown
(3rd Place, Junior Div.), Glenwood High SchoolProject: Solar Power: Does Distance of Light Affect Current?
Hanna measured that output current from a solar cell is non-linear with distance from the light source.
South Central South Dakota Regional Science Fair
Mitchell, South Dakota 31 March 2010Tom Harris
, Plankinton High SchoolProject: Burning Lasers
North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair
Raleigh, North Carolina 27 March 2010Stephen Carpenter and Dalton Williams
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Michael Escuti, North Carolina State Univ.; Russell Philbrick, North Carolina State Univ. and Jeff Xu, North Carolina State Univ.
(1st Place), Ashbrook High SchoolTeam Project: LASER Transmitters
Ashley Caison (2nd Place), Northwood High SchoolTamra Fisher
Project: Pigments and Photosynthesis
(3rd Place), Greenleaf Center for Classical StudiesProject: An Objective Analysis of Detergent Efficiency
Washington State Science and Engineering Fair
Bremerton, Washington 27 March 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judges: David Bajorins, Orb Optronix, Inc. and Robert Mathews, R Mathews Optical Works Inc.
George Lejnine (1st Place), Mercer Island High School
Project: Human-Computer Interaction Using Optical Technology
Mitchell Lund (2nd Place), W.F. West High School
Project: An Investigation into the Ability of a Solar Powered Stirling Engine to Produce Electricity
James Reis (3rd Place), Sequim Middle School
Project: Solar Sails
Badger State Science and Engineering Fair
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 27 March 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Kaushik Patel, Sigma Aldrich and Jungtae Rha, Medical College of Wisconsin
Project: Exploring the Role of Angles in a Solar Cell
Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair
Ada, Oklahoma 25-27 March 2010
Larod Snyder (1st Place), Westville High School
Project: Determining the Concentration of a Substance in a Solution by Measuring the Loss in Intenstity of a Light Beam that Contains Suspended Particular Matter
Hanna Huling (2nd Place), Ada High School
Project: Chemical Oxidative Treatement of Soil-Screening Method and Effects of Iron Concentration and pH
Paige Parrack (3rd Place), Southmoore High School
Project: Heavy Metal Bioremediation: Relief for a Ravaged Land
Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 25-27 March 2010Joy Liu
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Andrew Knights, McMaster Univ. and Jianwei Mu, McMaster Univ.
(1st Place), Westmount SecondaryProject: A New Focus: Reflecting Towards Higher Power Output of PhotovoltaicsSteven Beltrano
(2nd Place), St. Catherine of SienaProject: Laser BeatsDorian Sciamanna
(3rd Place), St. Ann's AncasterProject: How LEDs are Brighter and Safer
55th San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair
San Francisco, California 22-25 March 2010Anastasia Reshetikhin
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Cynthia Darling, UC San Francisco and Breck Hitz, LEOMA
(1stPlace), El Cerrito High SchoolProject: Optics of a FishbowlTodd Porter
(2ndPlace), Holy Spirit SchoolProject: Solar Charging Your iPhone or iTouch for DummiesKevin Nguyen
(3rdPlace), St. John SchoolProject: Does the Angle at Which the Sun’s Rays Fall on a Solar Panel Affect the Power that’s Produced
North Suburban Cook County Regional Science Fair (Region 6)
20 March 2010
SPIE Volunteer Judge: George Magerl, Optical Society of Chicago
Scott Albaum (1st Place), Lincoln Hall Middle School
Project: What Color Absorbs Heat the Best
Rishi Thakkar (2nd Place), Plum Grove Junior High
Project: Heat Absorption by Color
Chicago South Suburban Area Fair (Region 9)
March 2010Yoshin Govender
SPIE Volunteer Judge: George Magerl, Optical Society of Chicago
(1stPlace), Gregory Middle SchoolProject: Spectrum to SolarAngie Verdial
(2ndPlace), J. Sterling Morton West High SchoolProject: How Does Color Affect Heating by Absorption of Light
Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair
19 March 2010Leah Wallach
SPIE Volunteer Judge: George Magerl, Optical Society of Chicago
(1st Place), Edison SchoolProject: Cooking with the SunLauren Lee
(2nd Place), Von Stuben High SchoolProject: The Mirror Effect: Voltage and CurrentJessika Gaughan
(3rd Place), Cassell SchoolProject: Roses R Red, Violets R Blue, Y is This True?
Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair
Cleveland, Ohio 15-18 March 2010Melanie Carolin
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Rafat Ansari, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. and David Fischer, NASA Glenn Research Ctr.
(1st Place), Strongsville High SchoolProject: Eqvine Night VisionJulia Barbur
(2nd Place), Hudson Middle SchoolProject: The Blue Light of LuminolBen Wozniak
(3rd Place), Hudson Middle SchoolProject: The Effect of Color on Solar Cells
55th North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair
Huntsville, Alabama 3-5 March 2010Kendall Bane, Robert Sexton, and Zachery Jones
SPIE Volunteer Judge: H. Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr.
(Senior Div.), Westminster Christian AcademyTeam Project: Constructing an Unmanned Ground Vehicle From Off-The-Shelf Components
The team integrated a video targeting camera, a robotic finger to pull the trigger on a pellet gun and a pellet gun onto a radio controlled mobile platform. They calibrated the video targeting system and demonstrated the ability to hit targets with the pellet gun.Sophia A. Burkhardt
(Senior Div.), Catholic High SchoolProject: How do Certain Variations Affect the Output of a Solar Cell
Sophia did a wide ranging study of the electrical output from her solar cell as a function of different weather conditions and different inside lighting conditions. She is an enthusiastic proponent of solar electric power.Craig A. Conner
(Junior Div., Monrovia Middle SchoolProject: Integration
Craig integrated a GPS sensor, accelerometers and LED lights into a skate board. He then programmed the LED lights to direct him (turn right, turn left or go straight) from a starting position to an ending position (as detected by the GPS sensor). The accelerometers determined his direction of travel.
Pictured are Phil Stahl (SPIE Judge), Nick Simerly, and NARSEF's Emcee, Phillip Farrington.Nick Simerly
(Junior Div), Westminster Christian AcademyProject: Smart Wireless, Energy Efficient Motion Sensor
Nick used a wireless motion sensing system to trigger a video camera to observe objects in the field of view. He studied the strength of signal to noise of his system as a function of the objects size, distance and velocity.