Putnam Science Academy students honored at state science fair

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Mar. 28, 2011
Putnam Science Academy students Fadil Sencan, Abdurrahman Cam and Yusuf Yilmaz won first place in Physical Sciences at the Connecticut Science Fair. Photos by D. Coffey
Putnam Science Academy students Fadil Sencan, Abdurrahman Cam and Yusuf Yilmaz won first place in Physical Sciences at the Connecticut Science Fair. Photos by D. Coffey

Putnam Science Academy students took home first- and second-place awards in the 63rd Annual Connecticut State Science Fair Finals on March 19 at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. PSA took home a total of seven trophies, nine medals and four Special Awards for the 12 students and five projects entered.

The first-place award in Physical Science went to Yusuf Yilmaz, Abdurrahman Cam and Fadil Sencan for their project, “Using Citrus Fruit Peels to Remove Toxic Phenol from Industrial Waste Water.” The students researched ways of using lemon and orange peels to remove phenol, which is a toxic byproduct of fossil fuel, from waste water. The average annual amount of phenol waste in the United Statesis 8,153,000 pounds, the students determined. The high school team theorized that peels from oranges, one of the world’s most abundant crops, could be a cost-effective way to remove the toxin from the environment.

Along with first prize, the students were invited to submit their work to International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, Environment) Project in Houston, in May. The I-SWEEEP is an international science fair.

The students were also invited to submit their work to the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition in Chicago. The winner would go to Stockholm, Sweden, to compete for one of the world’s most prestigious prizes in water projects.

The second-place award in Life Sciences was given to Ozkan Cil, Selahaddin Ozkan and Fehmi Agaoglu for their project, “Utilizing Autumn Foliage as an Alternative Energy Source and as an Absorbing Agent for Oil Spills.” The dual focus of this project grew out of a biology class in which the students learned about the porous structure of leaves. The students tested a variety of tree leaves for their absorption abilities. Lime and walnut leaves, which are water-resistant, were the most absorbent. The group theorized that the leaf combinations could be a cost-effective and “green” method of cleaning up oil spills in water. They were also able to compose fuel pellets made of leaves that they found to be more economical when compared to oil, coal and wood. They hope that their work can be applied toward creating a renewable energy source.

Serik Tukupov won second place in the Mathematics category for his project, “Improving the Efficiency of Robotic Arm Movement Through Advanced Geometric Calculations.” Tukupov is on the robotics team at PSA. The project tested his hypothesis that robotic “arms” should be constructed in a certain way in order to maximize their range and reach. Think of a robotic arm as a human arm: Tukupov was able to prove that the length of the ‘forearm’ should equal the length from “shoulder” to “elbow.” When those sections of the arm are the same length, it can reach any point in its estimated range of motion. He plans to continue researching robotic arm movement and efficiency. The applications from his project could help in the fields of medicine, manufacturing and space exploration.

Winning the Finalist Medal in the Biotechnology category were Selman Avci and Almas Myrzatay for their project, “Measuring the Effects of Microwave Radiation on Plant Growth and Germination.” The ninth-graders used lima bean plants to test their hypothesis that radiation from microwaves could be harmful enough to affect plant growth. With a microwave closed and operational, the boys found that leaf and bean production suffered even at a distance of 30 feet.

Winning the Environmental Management Award from Northeast Utilities were 11th-graders Abdul Bektas, Yusuf Eraslan and Alperen Tuzuner for their project, “Enhancing the Plant Growth and Reducing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Using Single Mode Fiber Optics to Transmit Sunlight.” The project grew out of a desire to find an efficient and cost-effective way to grow plants in greenhouses, especially in areas where there isn’t much sunlight. Using high intensity discharge (HID) lights and light emitting diodes (LED) lights, they discovered that plants grew faster under LED lights than HID lights. LED lights are cheaper, last longer and don’t produce as much heat as HID lights. The students calculated that if all 300,000 commercial greenhouses in Connecticut used LED lights, there could be a cost savings of $68,294,054.

In his speech at the award ceremony, Gov. Dannel Malloy said the students and their projects renewed one’s faith in possibility. CSF Director Bob Wisner said their mission is to inspire students to use their creative abilities in the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. More than 13,000 students from grades seven though 12 competed for 500 spaces in the Connecticut State Science Fair.


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