GW Science Fair rocks Clark Hall Pub

Event provides opportunity to enjoy lots of beer, science

Participants at the Golden Words Science Fair always know how to have a good time.
Participants at the Golden Words Science Fair always know how to have a good time.

Nearing the end of the event, a drunk friend of mine leaned over my shoulder and jokingly told me that he was going to be very disappointed if this story didn’t begin with the line, “It was one of the stupidest nights I have ever spent in my entire life.”

The Golden Words Science Fair was held at Clark Hall Pub last Friday night. The event was billed as being just like Grade 5 should have been—in a bar and with cash prizes.

Eleven teams participated in the event. One team invented a portable funnel chair dubbed the “Porta-Funnel” that allowed a partygoer to funnel up to an entire pitcher of beer in about 10 seconds. Another group claimed to have discovered “A Modern Miracle” by inventing a “magic” box that “converted” water into beer. A third team actually distilled their own homemade liquor and a fourth team presented “A Beer-Cooled Computer” that successfully used beer as a cooling fluid for the motherboard.

All at once, the event demonstrated our student body’s applied knowledge of chemistry, physics, electrical and mechanical engineering and, of course, beer.

It was wildly hilarious, mildly educational and another great reminder of why Clark Hall Pub is the best bar on campus. In truth, it might very well have actually been one of the stupidest nights I have ever spent in my entire life.

That’s exactly why I enjoyed every minute of it.

A panel of judges evaluated each contraption based on its hilarity, originality, usefulness, interest to future, smarter generations and the team’s presentation of their project.

Several prizes were awarded to a variety of participants. The Most Technologically Advanced Award went to the “High-Powered Beer Cap Catching Electromagnet,” which is pretty much exactly what the title suggests. The high-powered magnet was designed to attract projectile beer caps and forever end the days of leaving discarded beer caps on your living room floor where they can be stepped on by the bare feet of unsuspecting housemates.

The winner of the Biggest Insult to Nature Award went to the team that invented “The Pickle Cut-o-matic.” The device consisted of two steak knives suspended horizontally from some beer bottles and hooked up to an electric current. This allowed the inventors to cut pickles simply by placing them on the hot knives and allowing electricity to do the rest. Unfortunately, the smell of electrically shocked pickles left a powerful stench that was hard to ignore.

The winner of the Most Commercially Marketable Award went to the team that invented the “Drinking Party Armour.” On the surface, the jacket appeared to be a normal GPA, but inside it concealed almost everything you would need to enjoy a complete night of boozing.

The jacket featured a bottle cap opener in one sleeve, a pint glass and straw in the inside pocket and a collapsible funnel and tube in the other sleeve. Most impressively, the jacket also contained hidden trays from Leonard Cafeteria that allowed the jacket to quickly and easily turn into a chair for those times when you are just too damned drunk to stay on your feet.

The winner of the George Foreman Award went to the team that invented “The Strawtling Gun.” The invention deemed most likely to be endorsed by George Foreman was a pneumatic-powered Gatling gun that fired the paper wrappers off of ordinary drinking straws. At one point in the presentation, judge and Engineering Society president John Mould got hit in the face with one of the flying paper wrappers, thus proving the weapon’s effectiveness.

The winner of the Audience Prize, as selected by the mostly-drunk crowd was the team that invented “The Second Shot.” The homemade liquor was said to be between 70 to 80 per cent alcohol and appeared to pack a mean punch. The drink was so strong that not every judge was daring enough to even take back a shot.

However, the Grand Prize was awarded to two first-year students. Evan Smith, Sci ’07, and Sean Kershaw, Comp ’07, found a “fire door opener with an automatic closer” in the trash one day and turned it into Science Fair gold.

The duo turned the door opener into a power generator capable of producing up to 600 V DC. During their presentation, they first used it to light up a 60-watt light bulb. Then they ran a cord from the generator to a fork and heated up the fork to impressive temperatures.

They also used the generator to power a “spark scribe” that could write legibly on a sheet of scrap metal. For a finale, they wrapped live metal coils powered by the generator around an ordinary pint glass and proudly displayed the most impossible drink in the world to steal when left momentarily unattended at the bar.

Smith and Kershaw were both ecstatic when they found out they won first prize.

“There’s a slight tingling feeling in my pancreas,” Smith said.

He said the project idea began when they first discovered the fire door operator. “We saw the fire door operator [and] we just had to steal it,” he said.

Smith said the key to their success was being creative. “You have to look at garbage and see what it can be,” he said.

Kershaw agreed. “All we had to do was think up a bunch of ridiculous things that were funny as hell,” he said.

Kershaw congratulated the other teams that participated in the event. “The other teams kicked ass, even the ones with broken stuff,” he said.

The two said they planned to spend a portion of their $400 grand prize buying a round of drinks for their floormates in residence. They both live on the second floor of Leonard Hall West. They also said they can’t wait for next year’s Golden Words Science Fair.

“We’re definitely coming back,” Kershaw said. “We’re going to think of something awesome for next year.”

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