Nanowires, Genetic and Mathematics Dominate at YSF Canada-Wide Science Fair

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland - (May 21, 2004) - Si Yue Guo and Raphael Gervais, 16-year-old Grade 11 students from Montreal, Quebec walked away with more than $49,000 in prizes and scholarships at the annual Youth Science Foundation (YSF) Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). With 483 students showcasing 375 projects, the 2004 CWSF was the largest to date, attracting students from every province and territory. The week long fair, hosted this year by Memorial University, is Canada's premier science competition.

The EnCana Corporation Best-of-Fair $10,000 cash prize and the $5,000 EnCana Platinum senior level prize went to Si Yue Guo and Raphael Gervais for their project, Quantum Conduction. Their novel technique reveals changes in conduction as wires become smaller and smaller. They demonstrated that below a certain thickness, conduction decreases in discrete units, rather than smoothly. This insight could enhance the design of circuits and electronic components on an atomic level.

Si Yue Guo, from St. Laurent, attends College Regina Assumpta, and Raphael Gervais, from Ville Mont Royal, attends Ecole Secondaire Pierre Laporte. In addition to the EnCana awards of excellence, the duo also won the senior Gold Medal and $1,500 as tops in their Physical and Mathematical Sciences Division, also sponsored by EnCana, as well as $250 from the Canadian Association of Physicists; a combined $16,000 scholarship from the University of Saskatchewan; a $12,000 scholarship from Memorial University of Newfoundland; and a $2,000 scholarship at the University of Western Ontario. One member of the team has also been invited to attend an international summer school for young physicists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo ($2,500).

Best Intermediate awarded to Saskatoon student
Kimberly Richards, a 15-year-old Grade 9 student from Walter Murray Collegiate in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan won the $5,000 EnCana Platinum Best Intermediate level award for her project, Choose Them or Lose Them? Her research into the impact of reduced genetic diversity on Canadian Spring Wheat concluded that selection for earlier maturity and increased yields has been achieved without weakening the strain.

Kimberley's work was also recognized with a Gold Medal in Biotechnology ($1,500) a Genome Canada Award ($2,000) which includes a wisdom exchange opportunity; the $1,000 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada award; the $1,000 Canadian Commission for UNESCO Science for Peace and Development Award; a $2,000 entrance scholarship at University of Western Ontario, and the opportunity to attend the 3rd annual APEC Youth Science Festival in Beijing, China this August.

Best Junior awarded to Calgary student
Daniel Bezdek, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student at St. Brigid School in Calgary, Alberta earned the $5,000 EnCana Platinum Best Junior level award for his research on Durer's Unsolved Geometry Problem. The complexity of his project, which took on one of the oldest unsolved problems of mathematics (geometry and art) raised by Albrecht Durer in the 16th century, had the Judging Committee, made up of some of Canada's top professional scientists, consulting additional mathematicians.

Bezdek's gold-medal ($1,500) presentation also earned him the $750 Discovery Channel Math Award, the $700 Dr. Michael Smith Innovation Award, the $250 Canadian Mathematics Society Award, as well as a $2,000 entrance scholarship at the University of Western Ontario.

Science "a game of the young"
"The YSF Canada-Wide Science Fair celebrates the ingenuity, creativity and analytical excellence of Canada's most accomplished young scientists. Science is a game of the young. The fundamental insights that transform scientific practice germinate in youth," said YSF Canada President Farhad Seif, noting that more than $250,000 in awards and cash prizes are distributed annually at this national event. A complete list of Divisional and Special Award winners is available on the CWSF website (

About YSF Canada
For more than 40 years, Youth Science Foundation Canada has been the premier organization promoting innovation and celebrating excellence in science and technology among Canadian youth. Through its support of project-based science and technology, YSF Canada has actively aided the development of the skills and knowledge Canada requires to achieve sustainable excellence in a global economy.

Thanks to the support of the largest volunteer network of its kind in Canada - a group of over 8,000 scientists, educators, parents, public and private sectors organizations - YSF Canada has established the leading national science and technology youth network.

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