We received thirteen different projects for the 2017 to 2018 Butwin Elias Science and Technology Award. The Times-Leader wrote an article about the BEST and Caffrey Welles Arts Awards here. The winners of the BEST award are listed below!
First Place ($2,500): The Lazarus Hand Hand
The first place winner for the 2017-2018 BEST award was Michael Grebeck and Chase Leach with their 3D Printed Lazarus Hand. This is the second time that they won the BEST award and the first time that we had a unanimous judging decision. The instructable that details their project can be found here.
Second Place ($1,000): Crafthover
Gabrielle Nichols, Avonni Tooley, Syndia Perez & Victoria Collum won second place with their DIY Hovercraft. The instructable that they wrote to document their project can be found here.
Third Place ($500): Making an RPG
Thaddeus Donlavage won third place with his instructable that documented making an RPG. The instructable he wrote can be found here.
Fourth Place ($200): Skate All the Way
Chanelle Sanchez, Lataisha Jenkins and Alana Germano won fourth place with their instructable that documented their build of a drill powered skate board. The instructable they wrote can be found here.
Fifth Place ($125): Measuring the Width of Microscopic Strands
Kenny Macko and Kyle Ostrowski won fifth place with their instructable that documented how to use lasers to measure thin strands. The instructable they wrote can be found here.
Participation Awards ($50):
Earning participation Awards for this years BEST award were Fabiola Flores and her Flame Tube, Stephen Franckiewicz, Joshua Woodworth and Gregory Amberes for their Fishbot3000, Tyler Mendoza for his Spring Lathe, Rosy Sosa and Michael Gavin with their VEX Robotic Car, Alyssa Lane and her SmartMirror, Asucena Vergara and Naomi Olmedo for their Altoids Charger and Luke Bottger and Jacob Ostrowski for their Magnetic Car.
Speech Given at the Awards Ceremony:
Adam Iseman spoke during the Major Awards ceremony at E. L. Meyers High about both the Arts Award and the BEST award and how pursuing artistic and scientific progress is a uniquely human activity. The transcript of his speech is below:
Hi! As Mr Elias said my name is Adam Iseman and I’m an alumnus of Meyers and I graduated in 2007. I founded the Iseman Foundation, the nonprofit that is presenting two awards today, as a way to give back to Meyers for giving me such a great high school education. This great education is due largely to the awesome teachers that toil day in and day out helping the students of Meyers. My high school education set me up for an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineer at Columbia University and a I followed that with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Even compared to the professors that I had during my higher education the teachers at Meyers truly are some of the greatest teachers in the world. Let’s take some time to give these awesome teachers a round of applause!
The two different awards that I’m here to give out today are named after four of the best teachers that I have ever had. This is the 6th year that I’m presenting the Butwin Elias Science and Technology award, abbreviated as the BEST Award. I had Mr. George Butwin for physics and Mr. Sam Elias for Geometry trigonometry and chess. These two still stand out as two of the best teachers I have ever had. I use the things they taught me in their classes on a daily basis. This is the 2nd year that we are presenting the Caffrey Welles Fine Arts Award and again both Mr Welles and Mrs Caffrey were truly amazing teachers that cared so much for their students.
And so before presenting these awards I wanted to take a bit of time and talk about the reasoning behind why we are giving out both a science and tech award and an Arts award. I’m an electrical engineer and I have always gravitated more towards the sciences. So when I found out that my sisters who helped me start the arts award last year wouldn’t be able to make here it to present that award I got a little nervous having to talk about art. So I started doing some research in preparation for this speech and what I found is really fascinating.
Humans are the only species in the world that create art. And we are the only species that has harnessed science and technology to improve our lives. Our species, Homo Sapiens, developed around ~315,000 years ago. It gets a bit fuzzy dating things that old but around then is when start finding anatomically similar skeletons to modern day humans. What is crazy to me though is that the oldest stone tools that have been unearthed date back to 2.5 million years ago! Primitive stone tools and the technological know how to use them developed 2.2 million years before humans did! The oldest examples of art that have been unearthed are dated somewhere between 200,000 years ago and 700,000 years ago. So both art and technology are older than humans!
The current theory is that the technological innovation of using stone tools helped the evolutionary precursor to homo sapiens gather resources more easily and freed them from the daily struggle of finding sustenance. This left them with time on their hands and they used that time to both improve their primitive technology and then later to create art. Soon humans were moving from stone tools to more efficient bronze tools and starting to write down the knowledge of past generations. This cycle continued with technologies developing that enabled ever greater works of art to be produced. Soon human were constructing giant pyramids, building cathedrals and making empires.
This cycle of technological progress enabling new and innovative art forms continues to this day. Modern humans rather than forming crude stone tools have harnessed the fundamental properties of those stones to create computer chips that we then use to create fully virtual works of art that can fool your senses into thinking that you are fighting zombies or exploring the cosmos. The projects that were submitted for both of these awards continue this great and very fundamentally human exploration of both Technology and of the Arts.
Now let’s get on to hearing the details about the projects that students submitted and presenting the actual awards. Since tools and technology have been around for longer I’m going to first present the BEST award and then move on to the more recent development in human history of the arts.
Donors Who Are Totally Awesome:
The Iseman Foundation is funded by awesome people who give their hard earned money to help encourage kids to start their journeys in science and technology. Thank you so much to everyone that continues to support getting kids interested in Science and Technology!