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Robyn Maler

Location: Morrisburg, ON

Award: Young Canadians


Year: 2001


Wavelets and Brain Rhythms

News Release

Six Ontario Science Students Earn Majority of Manning Young Innovator Awards at Nationals

KINGSTON, Ontario (May 18, 2001) --- Six Ontario high school students from Burlington, Kingston, Crysler, Toronto and Amhersburg today walked away with Divisional medals and the majority of cash and recognition by the Manning Young Canadian Innovator award program associated with the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). The national competition concludes Saturday at Queen's University.

While Ontario students captured five of the eight Manning Innovators awards, single winners represented regional science fairs from Quebec, Manitoba, and Vancouver. Some projects involved science partners. All eight projects earn $500, with four earning an additional $4000 and the right to attend the annual national Manning Innovation awards program this Fall. The awards are co-sponsored by Alberta Energy Company.

FROM BURLINGTON, $4500: Geoff Olynyk, a Grade 11 student at Aldershot High School and a member of the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Science Fair, returned to the national competition with further enhancements to his global warming management proposals that would capture CO2 from industrial sources before the gas is emitted to the atmosphere. The Gold medal prize winner in the Senior category of the Engineering Division at CWSF followed on the heels of his US$1750 award-winning appearance this month at the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California. Geoff also won two other special awards totaling $1,500 for a CWSF total exceeding $6,000.

"I developed my process to sequester, or lock up, carbon dioxide from products of combustion. My pilot plant replicates the natural weathering process that occurs between certain rocks and atmospheric CO2 over thousands of years. It has also been shown to work using a common industrial byproduct, blast furnace slag," explained Olynyk. His work could be another niche-market approach to other response strategies suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which include reforestation to increase the carbon stored in the earth's vegetation, or CO2 injection in the deep ocean or in deep underground wells.

His pilot project was developed using data obtained from his first phase research on the effectiveness of different silicate materials. Economic assessments were also conducted to compare the costs to sequester one tonne of CO2 across various rock tests and equipment arrangements. Blast furnace slag was deemed the most appropriate feed rock, enabling the 'Olynyk process' to remove over 90% of the CO2 in emission gases before leaving the industrial stack. Olynyk predicts that, with several modifications the process could be made to be cost-effective for other real applications.

FROM KINGSTON, $4500: In addition to Oleg Shamovsky being named a $4,500 Manning Young Canadian Innovator, his project that identified anomalies of the electrolytic oxidation of aluminum turned to a Gold medal performance in the Senior category of the Physical Sciences Division. A graduating student at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Oleg intends to pursue further studies at M.I.T..

His project research has uncovered unexpected behaviour in the impact of oxidation of aluminum, phenomena that could influence biochemical processes and represent an important concept in modern organic and pharmaceutical chemistries. The project expands the knowledge base of molecular processes occurring on surface of solids and suggests new methodology to detect certain anions in aqueous solutions, which may prove valuable in analytical chemistry and environmental studies. Shamovsky also feels his work may contribute to new technology of recycling aluminum or its extraction from various alloys and feels the life expectancy of electronic components (electrolytic capacitors) may increase.

Oleg a native of Moscow, immigrated to Canada six years ago and is no stranger to achievement in science projects. He earned US$2500 in three awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, recognizing this project for its work in corrosion awareness or control.

FROM CRYSLER / MORRISBURG, $4,500: North Dundas District High School OAC student Robyn Maler also leaves the Canada Wide Science Fair as a $4,500 Manning Young Canadian Innovator, and a Silver medallist in the Senior category of the Computer Technology Division for her work on enhanced analysis of brain rhythms through electroencephalograms (EEGs). A representative of the United Counties Regional Science Fair, Robyn won two additional awards with a total value of $750.

Using recently developed mathematical models called wavelets, I discovered a novel way to analyse EEGs. Current analysis methods are very subjective and fail to fully extract small waves in the EEG signals, such as sleep waves. Wavelet analysis extracted all different sleep waves and facilitated the detection of various abnormalities. A commercial version would easily diagnose sleep disorders and diagnose and help treat epilepsy. It might even be adapted to operate in real time on mobile patients," explained Ms. Maler.

FROM TORONTO $500: John Fraser and Andrew Smith from Toronto's Northern Secondary School teamed up to develop a novel approach to DNA computer programming, earning themselves a Senior Bronze Medal in Computer Technology and a $500 cash prize from the Manning Awards Foundation.

"DNA-computing is a new technology, in which most experiments focus on solving specific mathematical logic problems. This project explores DNA-computing as a simulation medium. Using innovative molecular biological techniques, to simulate baseball, the experiment explored biases in DNA-computer programming and demonstrated the effectiveness of the simulation," explained Fraser and Smith. Their project modeled the runs-per-inning distribution of baseball teams, determined by their on-base percentages, to establish the viability of DNA-computing as an alternative medium to electronic based systems. The team also recently returned from the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California with two awards that recognized their work on interdisciplinary aspects of scientific and engineering research.

FROM AMHERSTBURG $500: Gibson Gervais, from Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle and a representative of the Windsor Regional Science Fair, also won $500 as a Manning Young Canadian Innovator for his work on recycling agricultural and industry waste to create a bio-engineered soil supplement.

"Intensive commercial agriculture and the pulp and paper industry have been target topics whenever major environmental issues are discussed. The two industries on factory farms have become associated with significant environmental problems and the focus on this project was to attempt to rethink some of these issues in terms of conservation of Biomass. This suggests a solution-oriented naturally symbiotic relationship between these industries, which may change where they are located and how they are operated in the future.

"MATRYOSHKA is my plan for an environmentally responsible waste management system for recycling swine farm waste water and waste solids from the pulp and paper industry using a steam explosion technology. I designed and built a unique Conical Auger De-Watering Column and personally performed laboratory analysis and steam explosion procedures testing this process," explained Gervais. He concludes by suggesting that the process can successfully address three main problems of existing swine wastewater disposal practices (raw waste spreading on farmland, large volumes of water required, and odeor protection). As well, it can provide an ecologically responsible method of recycling swine barn water and carbon-rich pulp and paper waste materials.

Gervais also recently returned from the International Fair in San Jose with an award recognizing his environmental research.

"These young Canadians have clearly demonstrated an innovative capability. It is important to receive recognition for their accomplishments to date and more importantly, the encouragement to pursue their interests," said Dr. Carol Beatty of the Queen's School of Business and a member of the national Selection Committee of the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation.

There were more than 350 projects, involving 450 students and 260 judges in the national CWSF-Kingston - the culmination of science fairs that attracted more than 500,000 students across the country.

Manning Awards Executive Director Don Park said this is the 10th year that the Foundation has been part of the CWSF, adding he is proud to be able to track some of the significant contributions that earlier winners are now making to Canadian society.

For more information about the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation, please contact Donald Park, Executive Director, at (403)-266-8288 or visit the Foundation's website at www.manningawards.ca

Media Contact
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