A new generation of Sleek Geeks
18 August 2010
The science of sound, an amusing account of how the first x-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen, an insight into the details of feathers, and the space-time continuum are the topics of the winning films in the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize.
Encouraging primary and secondary school students to communicate scientific concepts in accessible and entertaining ways via a three minute short film, the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize is part of the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes - billed as the Oscars of Australian science.
Sleek Geeks, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer, seek short films that painlessly increase the audience's science knowledge or as the Sleek Geeks like to say: "Learn something without even noticing".
Lily Colmer, from Albany Hills State School in Queensland, won the Primary School category with her film 'Can You Hear The Music?' Lily received $1 000 for her film.
Steven Megaloudis, Betty Cheregi, Matt Dalla Rosa, Byron Mihailides, Evan Raif and Paul Dalla Rosa, from St Helena Secondary College in Bundoora, Victoria, won the Secondary School category with their amusing film 'Röntgen: A Bright Spark'. The team of Year 12 students received $4 000 and an Abbey's Bookshop voucher for $500.
Taking out second prize ($3 000) in the Secondary School category was Brandon Gifford, a Year 9 student from Casino Christian School in northern NSW, for his film 'The Incredible Feather'.
Emilio Pace, Chris Daniels, David Waters and Milan Dobrijevic from St Peter's College in Adelaide, won third prize ($2 000) for their film 'A Timely Intervention'.
"The creativity in the Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize films this year, and the diverse range of scientific topics, really impressed us," said Professor Trevor Hambley, Dean of the Faculty of Science.
"We sponsor this prize for primary and secondary school students to inspire the next generation of scientists and science communicators. It's a great way for students to explore science topics and learn about areas of science they may not cover in school."
The students behind the four prize winning films were flown to Sydney for a lunch and film screening with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer - the Sleek Geeks - at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 17 August, followed by the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes black tie dinner in the night.
Lily Colmer's film 'Can You Hear The Music?' explores how we hear sounds and recognise different pitches, notes and frequencies. The film uses real footage of her walking outdoors hearing different sounds, her computer humming and her pool pump making noise, as well as animation to illustrate how sound travels down the ear canal to the ear drum, passing vibrations onto the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones, which then stimulate the cochlea and send signals to the brain. Lily leaves us with the question of whether urban noises are simply noise or music.
Secondary School category winning film 'Röntgen: A Bright Spark' presents an amusing account of how Wilhelm Röntgen discovered x-rays in 1895 (for which he won the 1901 Nobel Prize in Physics). The team from St Helena Secondary College in Bundoora, Victoria, were able to use some of Röntgen's original equipment, as well as film in the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne, where x-rays are used in contemporary research. Paul Dalla Rosa does an excellent job of playing Wilhelm Röntgen, with Byron Mihailides and Evan Raif playing the comic presenters, and Betty Cheregi playing Anna Röntgen - Wilhelm's wife, whose hand was the first body part to be x-rayed.
Brandon Gifford's film 'The Incredible Feather', details the many different sorts of feathers and their structure, function and location on birds. Using real footage of birds and feathers, interspersed with hand-drawn diagrams, Brandon's film provides an interesting summary of the startling array of feathers.
Third prize winning film 'A Timely Intervention', made by four students from St Peter's College in Adelaide, takes us on a journey through space and time, explaining Einstein's theory of relativity and the notion of time slowing down. David Waters and Milan Dobrijevic play two students who are woken from their boring physics lesson and given a far more interesting demonstration of space-time concepts by a professor played by Chris Daniels. Using the "simplest, most reliable imaginary timepiece" made of two parallel mirrors with a light beam bouncing back and forth between them, the students explore relativity and time dilation, with humour. The film was written, filmed and edited by Emilio Pace.
Watch all the winning and highly commended films in the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize at: www.abc.net.au/science/sleekgeeks/eureka/2010/
Contact: Katynna Gill
Phone: 02 9351 6997