Impressive results for JMC boys at the Otago Science Fair

Friday 25th August 2023

12 students were selected from the JMC Science Fair to progress to the Otago Science Fair. 11 students picked up an amazing 28 prizes in total.

An impressive haul of prizes included a Premiere Prize for Adam Ludgate (Most Promising Year 9-13 Scientist) and a whopping six prizes for senior student Marco Hartono.

Adam’s project revolved around finding planetary nebulae. These occur when medium sized stars get near the end of their life and eject gases which are in turn ionised by UV. Oxygen and other atomic spectra are emitted. Adam processed some images and got lucky finding one. He consulted databases and found that this nebula was an undiscovered one – only 3500 are known but modelling suggests there should be at least 20,000. He developed a hypothesis that planetary nebulae were being hidden by background hydrogen emission. Using this he was then able to discover another two nebulae. Planetary nebulae are important because they can be the material from which new stars form. Adam was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme and you can listen in here, from the six minute mark:

Congratulations to all the Otago Science Fair entrants: Bayden Clearwater, Jaimee Bradfield, Reuben MacAllister, Liam Hamilton, Toby Hebden, Tommy Wilson, Adam Ludgate, William Ross, Roam Penwarden, Joshua Chin and Ethan Barnett

Joshua Chin
Tommy Wilson
Marco Hartono