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Sam Di Cresce (little brother Isaac on his back), Olivia Swirsky, Sam Charach, Jericho Knazan. All are in the Hebrew Bilingual program at Brock Corydon
By MYRON LOVE
More than a dozen budding young  potential future scientists - who also happen to be Jewish, stood out at this spring’s Winnipeg School Science Symposium

At the top of the list were Grant Park High School Grade 8 students Lev Hochman and Mark Yanovski, whose project, “Wound Infection, Thermal Detection”, won a Gold Medal and an Innovation Award. It was also rated the “Most Outstanding Junior Project” and “Best in Category” for information and technology.
The best part though was that Yanovski (the son of Evgeni and Irina) and Hochman (son of David and Marisa) were awarded for their accomplishments with a trip to Ottawa to take part in the Canada-wide Science Fair (May 12-19) at Carleton University in the nation’s capital.
“It was a lot of fun,” says Hochman of their time in Ottawa.
Yanovski and Hochman’s winning project is intended to determine whether thermal images can detect infections at a faster rate than standardized methods. “Doctors normally eyeball wounds or injuries for infection,” Hochman notes. “We wanted to see if by focusing on heat being given off by the injury, infection could be diagnosed and therefore treated earlier.”
He adds that their project has been taken up by researchers at the St. Boniface Hospital who will be conducting a study on a larger patient sample size.
Grade 7 Grant Park students Naty Vaserman and Max Caza won a Gold Medal as well as the Junior Earth and Space Award for a study of the effects of insulators on ice.
“We were trying to show how insulators affect our lives as well as identify insulators that can be used as alternatives to Styrofoam - which is bad for the environment,” says the son of Avi and Marina Vaserman. “We tried putting  ice cubes into pickle jars lined with wood, cotton, cellulose sponges, paper and foil. We found that the sponges were the most effective because they absorb water.”
 
Vaserman and Caza’s fellow Grant Park Grade 7 student, Coby Samphir, won the Junior Chemistry Award and the Gold Medal in the Chemistry category for his project, “Spice It Up”. The son of Daniel and Amy Samphir treated e-coli bacteria with different household spices. He found that tea tree oil was the most effective household substance in fighting ecoli.
 His project this year   was a follow-up to his award-winning project last year, when he was in Grade 6 at Brock Corydon  School, and  when he also tested different spices against bacteria.

This year, two Jewish Brock Corydon students won prizes at the Winnipeg Schools Science symposium and four more won prizes at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium (April 26-29). In the former competition, Grade 6 student Zoe Kirshner and Grade 5 student Sam Di Cresce earned a Science Innovator Award and Mathematics and Statistics Innovative Application Award respectively.
Kirshner (the daughter of Alex and Marli) also tied for Most Outstanding Elementary Award.
Zoe’s project, “Need a Hand?”, involved different prosthetic designs. “I made three different models of hands and tested which ones were best at grabbing different objects,” she explains.

Di Cresce’s passions are mathematics and statistics. The son of Greg Di Cresce and Dr. Aviva Goldberg, Sam chose for his entry, “Penny Pinching”, to look into whether grocery store owners are making a profit since the government discontinued minting pennies. He determined that they are not making any extra profit after taxes.
Sam Di Cresce also won a Gold Medal – Elementary and Best Social Science project at the Provincial Science Symposium for “Penny Pinching”. He was one of five Jewish Brock Corydon kids to win medals at the Provincial level.

Grade 6 student Sam Charach enjoyed a very successful science symposium. The son of Josh and Patti Charach won a Gold Medal, an Interdisciplinary Award and Best Biological Science – Individual – Elementary (which came with $100) for his project, “Could AI Solve the World’s Biggest Problems?”.
“I talked about advancements in artificial intelligence, such as Google’s voice kit,” he says. “I talked about Deep Blue” (the chess computer that squared off against world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1996 and 1997) and (IBM’s supercomputer) Watson. I believe that AI can be invaluable in areas such as healthcare, transportation, safety and the environment.”

Grade 5 student Olivia Swirsky also won a Gold Medal and Best Health and Biotechnology project for her study of “The Mosquito Sound - What’s All the Buzz About?”
“The mosquito gives off a high-frequency sound,” says the daughter of Matthew and Jackie Swirsky. “I tested 185 people and concluded that people aged 30 and younger can hear the sound but that ability fades with age.”
That is why, she notes, that some stores that want to discourage young people from loitering, play high frequency sound – because the sound annoys younger people.
 
Both Grade 5 students Hannah Schaeffer and Jericho Knazan won Silver Medals at the symposium and Knazan also received Honourable Mention.
For his study, “Does Colour Affect Taste?”, Knazan, the son of Josh and Primrose, got some bottles of Sprite and added four different food colourings to them.
“I asked my classmates to test the bottles.” He says. “Only two realized that all the bottles were the same. The others thought that the red was cherry-flavoured, the orange tasted orange, the brown was a cola and the purple tasted like blueberry or raspberry.”
Hannah Schaeffer’s prize-winning entry was testing “electric circuits” using potatoes combined with copper or aluminum wiring to build batteries.
“I didn’t get as strong a result as I expected,” says the daughter of Marc Schaeffer and Kai Sasake. “I got better results by squeezing the potato.”
 
Grant Park student Ella Hechter and Balmoral Hall student Sophie Schwartz – both Grade 8 students – both won WISE Kid-Netic Energy Awards and Gold Medals for their projects. Schwartz, the daughter of Stewart and Laila Schwartz, also had her project, “Does Age Affect Susceptibility To The Placebo Effect?”, ranked as Best Social Science project at the junior high level.
She conclude that age does affect susceptibility to the placebo effect.
Hechter, the daughter of Richard and Signy, also received $100 for Best Physical Science Individual at the Junior High level - for her project, “Jackpot!”
 
And finally, at the senior high school level, Gabriel Cohen (the son of Sergio and Patricia), won the Mid-Canada AOAC Award (along with $100 that comes with it) as well as Best Individual Chemistry Award - Senior and a Silver Medal for a study of “the Characteristics of Ph4BODIPY and Ph4BODIPY Catechol”.
The Grade 11 Shaftesbury High School student will be spending time at the University of Manitoba over the summer furthering his research.

Science fari winners