The Science of Life: How your body works - 2014

The Science of Life: How your body works 2014 was our second ever national project competition for 16-19 year-old students, following the inaugural sports-themed competition, The Science of Sport: How to Win Gold, in 2012. As its name suggests, The Science of Life had a much broader theme than its predecessor and projects from all areas of physiology were invited.

As a result, we were pleased to receive over double the number of entries, investigating areas as diverse as the effects of music on the heart, carbohydrate-rich breakfast on IQ, and allergens on smooth muscle. 14 entries altogether reached the Final, which took place at our main scientific conference, Physiology 2014, on 30 June 2014.

To reach the Final, the students had to complete an independent physiology project (either alone or in groups) and then submit a mid-project progress report to The Society. To support their projects, they were also provided with access to scientific mentors. The students who submitted the best reports were then invited to complete their projects and present their findings as posters to a panel of judges at the conference in June. Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes were awarded to the best presentations on the day.

The Science of Life: How your body works 2014 competition winners: Humaa Hasan and Nilufa Yasmin (Silver); Eva Harris (Gold); Andrew Wood and Hinsum Wong (joint Bronze); Simran Narwal, Sukhbir Khosah, Priya Verma and Ganga Chana (joint Bronze) [from left to right].

Please click here to view all photos of the final judging.

Gold prize went to Eva Harris from Kent College Canterbury for her project on 'How does the Glycemic Index of different breakfast cereals affect cognitive performance in school students throughout the morning?' Eva said, "When I first heard about this competition I had a feeling that it would be something special and that feeling was definitely right! It was a fantastic experience which has given me a real taste of what scientific research could be like. I did not expect to win, but I was delighted and I am now considering a career in medical research."

Silver prize went to a team, 2-Reactors (Humaa Hasan and Nilufa Yasmin), from Seven Kings High School for their project on 'The effect of omega-3 on intelligence'. They were mentored by Dr Mark Dallas from the University of Reading, who said, "A great opportunity to engage with the future of the science community and go back to school! From developing their idea to undertaking the research the students impressed me with their understanding and their thirst to learn and indeed grasp tricky concepts."

Bronze prize was awarded jointly to a team, The Pacemakers (Andrew Wood and Hinsum Wong), from Tiffin School and another team, Yolo (Ganga Chana, Sukhbir Khosah, Simran Narwal and Priya Verma) from Langley Grammar School for their projects on 'The Effects of Music on the Heart' and 'The effects of sleep duration on reaction time' respectively.

One of the judges, Dr Valerie Gladwell from the University of Essex, said, "I was very impressed with the quality of the entries this year. It is also great to see the numbers of entries increasing. The students always amaze me with their enthusiasm and passion for the topic that have studied. I thank all the teachers for having so much enthusiasm to engage the students as well the mentors for assisting in the projects."

We would also like to thank all the teachers, mentors and judges for their support throughout the competition, and congratulate all the winners for their huge achievement.

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