Science fairs and being creative

I have a confession to make: I was a science fair nerd.

Me, being nerdy, at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Calgary, 2003

Yep, back when I was in high school, I got caught up in science fair fever, and twice I made it through the rounds to national Canada-Wide Science Fair. The first time was in Grade 8, when it was part of the science curriculum – so literally everyone in our year had to enter at the school level (and then it progressed to city-wide/regional level, then nationals). The second time was in Grade 12, when I had given up all formal science education (I think my class schedule resembled: English, English Literature, Creative Writing, History, French) but I still loved science on a practical level – hence why I chose to once again enter the science fair in my own time, although with a partner.

So I was completely intrigued when I logged on to Google and saw an ad for the Google Science Fair. This is its second year running, but I must have missed out on the announcement last year. I love their ethos:

Have you asked a question today? What did you do with it?

Did it take you somewhere new? Did it bring you here?

The Google Science Fair is an online science competition seeking curious minds from the four corners of the globe. Anybody and everybody between 13 and 18 can enter. All you need is an idea.

Geniuses are not always A-grade students. We welcome all mavericks, square-pegs and everybody who likes to ask questions. Simply upload your project here to win some life changing prizes.

Everyone has a question. What’s yours?

“Everyone has a question. What’s yours?” What a great line. I think that sums up exactly what I loved about the whole science fair experience. It was the chance to think about a question that wanted answers to, and then the try to find a solution myself. What could be more exciting?

A couple of years ago, the Canada-Wide Science Fair people got in touch with me to find out if I would be willing to talk to young students coming up through the science fair system. I don’t think they realized that I literally had nothing to do with science since leaving high school (whoops). But I think as the Google Science Fair ethos shows, what I’m doing now – writing, reading, asking questions – isn’t so far away from what they’re asking. And that’s probably what I liked most about science fairs, that blend of scientific method with pure creativity.

Plus, I edit science fiction now: does that count?

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One thought on “Science fairs and being creative

  1. Suite Henry says:

    Inside my science-nerd heart, I’d be a surgeon or something.
    I’m still pretty fasscinated by biology, in spite of the fact that I do not have the discipline to be a doctor.

    I think asking questions can get you into a lot of trouble but it’s necessary trouble!

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