Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This is rocket science!

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Najam Haq from Young Engineers Workshop with Somerville Intermediate students Gareth Choo who won three prizes at NIWA Science and Technology Fair. Photo supplied.

Somerville Intermediate student Gareth Choo won three prizes at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Science and Technology Fair (NIWA) with his original and technically advanced project `Electromagnetic Propulsion Launches the Future’.

Gareth’s science project that explores technology for cleaner transportation, won first prize in the Physical and Material World Category, Best in Innovation, Invention or Investigation and the Science Award Trust Prize.

Electromagnetic propulsion is an emerging technology that has many applications including launching rockets into space. Like many young people these days, Gareth found inspiration on YouTube. “I found the world of electromagnetics and clean propulsion,” he says.

“I built an electromagnetic launcher to test different materials for speed and efficiency. I discovered I could alter the electromagnetic flux and help projectiles gain speed and efficiency with magnets and springs.”

The judges of the fair were impressed by Gareth’s level of understanding and his project’s technical skill.

The budding scientist used an Arduino microcontroller to accurately measure and record the speed of the launches. “I conducted several tests to see if I could come any closer to finding an energy efficient solution for reducing carbon waste in train systems.”

This isn’t the first project Gareth has done using Arduino.

Gareth has been participating in Young Engineers Workshop Programs for three years where he built up his knowledge and experience in electronics.

Budding scientist in the making with his winning science project. Photo supplied.

Najam Haq, Young Engineers Workshop instructor, says, “Gareth has really taken the skills he’s acquired in our programs to the next level.”

At the Young Engineers Workshop, Gareth has been exposed to many types of technology and engineering but has developed a real interest for electronics. He has built a few impressive projects from scratch including including a motor, a flashlight that runs from dead batteries and an autonomous robot.

Gareth says, “Winning this prize has inspired me to want to focus more on technology and science to find innovative solutions to problems that we face in the world.”



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