Finalists announced in the University of Sydney's Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize

29 July 2008

Australian primary, secondary and tertiary students unleashed their creativity and displayed their scientific knowledge in the University of Sydney's Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prizes this year, with short films made on topics as diverse as genetics, astronomy, sub-atomic particles, weather systems and neuroscience.

The annual competition invites students to make a three minute film about any scientific concept they like, in an entertaining way. The films aim to painlessly increase their audience's science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks - Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer - like to say, "Learn without noticing".

Entries this year included animations, theatrical dramas, documentary presentations and musicals.

The university category was won by Michael van Drempt, from the University of Sydney, for his film 'A Fundamental Misunderstanding'. The fast paced animation looks at theories of the fundamental make-up of our universe in an amusing way, including the current search for Higgs boson - the 'God Particle'. The quirky cartoon has won Michael $3 000 in the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize.

Three finalists have been chosen in the secondary school category, with the winners to be announced on 19 August at the high profile Australian Museum Eureka Prizes dinner. First prize is $4 000 plus a $500 book voucher from Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney; second prize is $3 000; and third prize is $2 000.

Five Year 9 students from Gosford High School, NSW, are finalists for their film 'Fractious Friction'. The students - Allen Bayden, Tobias Jackson, Tom Roberts, Daniel Barnaby and Kaleah Balcomb - explore friction using stop-motion filming to show students gliding and bouncing around their school.

A team of four Year 10 students - Nicole Matouk, Ada Jin, Madeleine Cowell and Sarah Young - from Conservatorium High School, NSW, are finalists for their film 'Neurotic - A film about brain messages'. Illustrating how neurons transmit signals from the body to the brain and how these are interpreted, the students use visually striking and creative large scale demonstrations to delve into the brain.

Mitchell Connolly, a Year 10 student from Melbourne High School, VIC, is in the running for one of the top three prizes for his film 'The Copernican System'. Using intricate Lego scenes and computer graphics, Mitchell explains the importance of Copernicus' work.

The primary school category was taken out by a team of four Year 4 - 6 students from Table Cape Primary School, TAS, for their film 'Eureka!'. Tom Bird, Cally-Rose Ware, Alex Ridge and Madison Walker win$1 000, plus a $500 book voucher from Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney, for their gorgeous animated film. Using modelling clay and other props, the students illustrate Archimedes' famous Eureka moment when he worked out preservation of volume of water in a bath.

A Highly Commended prize in the primary school category has been awarded to Aydin Neighbour, a Year 1-2 student from St Finbarr's Catholic Primary School, NSW. His film - 'What?! A mountain blows its top off?' - has the four year old authoritatively explaining how volcanos work with a number of demonstrations and diagrams.

The students will receive their awards from Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer at the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes dinner on 19 August. The secondary school finalist films will be televised on Network Ten's TTN and Totally Wild programs.

Check out who wins after 19 August at:

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 0a5505400734567b343009271116441a2557263e3d5e0904