Jonathan Wu places second at state science fair

After two months of research, building and testing, seventh grader Jonathan Wu’s solar panel and wind turbine creation not only won him first place at the 2014 Middlebrook Science Fair, but also second place at the 66th Annual Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair.

“Basically, I just combined solar panels and wind turbines by installing solar panels onto the blades of the wind turbine,” said Jonathan. “I tested to see if the solar panels and wind turbines combined were more effective than the solar panels and wind turbines separately.”

Jonathan took first place in the seventh- and eighth-grade physical sciences category at the Feb. 4 Middlebrook Science Fair, earning him a ticket to the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair at Quinnipiac University earlier this month.

“I was really excited to win at the Middlebrook Science Fair,” said Jonathan. “I was happy that all my hard work paid off.”

More than 600 students in grades 7-12 compete in the state science fair each year.

“It was a lot bigger and there were a lot more projects. There were a lot of high schoolers and they had really cool projects,” said Jonathan. “It was a great experience going there and meeting the other contestants.”

Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating representatives served as judging chairs and coordinated approximately 30 judges from:

  • The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection;
  • Capitol Region Education Council;
  • Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority;
  • Pratt & Whitney;
  • United Technologies Corporation;
  • University of New Haven;
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Jonathan said competing in the state science fair was both nerve-racking and exciting.

“I was nervous to be interviewed because there were quite a lot of judges, but I was excited to be a finalist,” he said.

During his interview with the judges, Jonathan said he presented his project and answered the judges’ questions.

“They asked me about my wind turbine design and aerodynamics and possible factors that can affect the output and efficiency,” Jonathan explained.

On Saturday, March 15, the  winners of the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair were announced.

Jonathan was named one of 12 Special Award winners, placing second in the middle school-level Sustainable Resources and Practices category and receiving $300 and a trophy.

“I was really happy and overjoyed,” said Jonathan. “Like the Middlebrook Science Fair, I felt like all my hard work was worth it.”

Jonathan said he will probably spend the $300 cash prize on research for next year’s science fair project.

“I’m going to do sort of a continuation next year,” he said, “so I’m going to use the money to find more materials.”

When it comes to his trophy, Jonathan said he will probably just keep that in his bedroom.