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Broadcom MASTERS International delegates bond through their scientific curiosity and sharing cultural traditions

By Wendy Li

Six of this year’s Broadcom MASTERS International delegates had questions they wanted answers to. Photo courtesy of Society for Science

Science research can often start with just a question:

Why is the sky blue? How much sleep do we need? What is consciousness?

Six of this year’s Broadcom MASTERS International delegates had questions they wanted answers to, and what better way to find them than using the scientific process? After all, it’s their scientific curiosity that connects them with one another. So even if they may be physically apart in this big world, they still have this community to lean upon. Learn more about these intrepid young scientists from around the globe, their projects, some of their favorite snacks and places to visit in their home countries below!

Camryn Bronson, 13
United States

Which chemical removes blood most effectively from tile?

Inspired by the television show Criminal Minds and intrigued by forensic work, Camryn tested five different chemicals to see which one removes blood the most effectively from tile. “This was done by analyzing how bright the tile glows when sprayed with a substance known as luminol, which glows when in contact with blood,” she explained. “I found that out of the five substances of bleach, laundry detergent, isopropyl alcohol, white vinegar and distilled water, white vinegar removed blood most effectively.”

One interesting snack Camryn enjoys from the United States are Girl Scout Cookies. “I like Thin Mints and Tagalongs.” For those who are unfamiliar, Camryn elaborated, “Thin Mints are milk chocolate covered cookies with a crunchy slightly minty chocolate cookie center. Tagalongs are milk chocolate covered cookies with peanut butter flavoring inside.”

Eoghan Farren, 14

What are the carbon footprints of different diets?

Eoghan’s project was inspired by his sister, who is a vegan. He wanted to determine if “food miles,” a method to measure how far food has travelled before it reaches consumers, were significantly different in various diets. First, Eoghan designed a survey and then distributed it to collect responses. He then performed a statistical analysis on his data. “The analysis involved the translation of the responses into a format that allowed different diets to be compared,” he explained. “It showed that vegan diets had a higher food miles footprint than one of omnivorous diets.”

If one of his Broadcom MASTERS International delegates were to visit his home country of Ireland, he recommends visiting any of the beautiful beaches in Donegal, the county where he lives. “They are stunning and some of the best beaches in the world,” he endorsed.

Danielle “Dani” Gibson, 14

Do native fruits have less sugar then non-indigenous fruits?

Danielle investigated fruits that are native to Australia to see if they have less sugar in them compared to non-indigenous fruits. “I accomplished this by fermenting different samples of native Australian fruits and recording their weights after different periods of time during the day, and then once a day for a week,” she explained. “I compared these results with ones from the previous year where I had tested the glucose content of common western fruits.” Ultimately, Danielle found that native fruits had less sugar.

Danielle recommends her fellow delegates try “Snack Packs.” “They are a Western Sydney street food that are based off of Turkish cuisine,” she said. “It is chips with shaved beef on top, with a selection of sauces. It can also have cheese as well.”

Helena “Helča” Nimshausová, 13
Czech Republic

Are we consuming too much salt?

For Helena’s project, she kept track of how much salt she consumed per day in a two-week period to better understand why salt is both important for the human body, but also dangerous to consume too much of. Helena’s mom helped her record how much salt Helena ate with each meal. “I calculated my average daily consumption and then compared my results with other statistics and recommendations,” Helena explained. “The results of my self-analysis made me happy because I kept to the recommended daily amount of salt.”

Helena’s favorite street food from the Czech Republic is sausage in a roll. “It’s similar to an American hot dog, but you don’t have to slice the roll lengthways.” Instead, a long hole is made through the bread and then ketchup or mustard is placed inside with the sausage.

Rowan Parkinson, 14

Is listening to music while working a distraction?

“It is commonly believed that listening to music while working is a distraction and will negatively affect one’s ability to concentrate on a task,” Rowan told the Society. “My project explored whether binaural beats (a type of music) could instead be used to improve concentration.” In Rowan’s experiment, 25 subjects were instructed to play a 48-tiled memory game before and after listening to 20 Hz binaural beats. While playing, they were also fitted with a Muse headset (a portable EEG device), which recorded their brainwave activity. Rowan compared their first and second memory test scores and analyzed their concentration indices as measured by the Muse headset. “My results showed that 84% of subjects improved their memory test scores by an average of 24.3%, and 80% of subjects also improved their concentration indices by an average of 36.1%.”

Beavertails are one of Rowan’s favorite foods from Canada. “They are pastries made of fried dough, stretched into the shape of a beaver’s tail and served with a choice of toppings including cinnamon, maple butter, chocolate hazelnut and more.”

Aarush Suryanarayanan, 13

How does stellar metallicity vary with planetary mass?

Using data from NASA archives of all confirmed exoplanets, Broadcom MASTERS International delegate Aarush analyzed the metallicity-period-mass relationship of single planetary systems, multiplanetary systems and binary star systems. “Apart from confirming aspects of our existing understanding of exoplanet properties, my research indicates the presence of at least two exceptions to a previously hypothesized low-mass planet mass-metallicity upper limit among other results,” Aarush found. “These results will help scientists better understand planet formation and evolution.”

“A trip to India is not complete without a selfie in front of the Taj Mahal,” Aarush told his fellow delegates. “One of the seven wonders of the world, this monument is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. The Taj Mahal, with its gardens, took 20 years to build!”