Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Some of the state's brightest young minds showcased their science projects Saturday at IUPUI.
The projects may have started out as homework assignments, but some could end up making scientific breakthroughs.
"My project is titled 'Turbinally Noisy'," said Noah Mains, a sixth grader from Fort Wayne. "It's about testing the amount of sound produced by three different wind turbines."
Wind energy has hit a roadblock recently, with reports surfacing of people complaining of headaches and nausea from the low frequency sounds the turbines produce.
"First, I have the axis, which is the current commercial standard," said Mains, who may have found a solution by testing an alternative. "This one was the least noisy."
"I wanted to see how culture affects what people think a healthy lifestyle is," said Ovini Rodrigo, a senior at Park Tudor.
Rodrigo may be one step closer to solving childhood obesity and 11-year-old Carter Cook may have discovered a drug-free pain reliever for hospital patients.
"When you're playing video games, it releases this chemical called endorphins that tone down the pain even more," said Cook, a fifth grader at Yorktown Elementary School.
"We have a big health care initiative going on in the state right now and the advancement that we could do is pain management would be a big boost in that direction," said Dr. Robert Yost, Science Education Foundation of Indiana.
Organizers of the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair say the statewide competition is part of the governor's big picture to attract more science and technology firms - like Eli Lilly - to Indiana.
"We're looking for originality, we're looking for contributions that individuals might be able to make to develop business in Indiana," Dr. Yost said.
Some of the judges say they wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these students ended up staying right here in Indiana and finding jobs at companies like Lilly.
"With respect to their thought process, their experimental design, attention to detail, enthusiasm," said Anthony Borel, a Lilly scientist and judge at the fair.
"In commercial airlines, the winglet would be placed on the tip of the wing to create more fuel efficient aircraft," said Zakary Sipich, a senior at Kouts High School.
Munster student named "Top Young Scientist"
Governor Mitch Daniels awarded Munster High School senior Neil Kondamuri a $10,000 cash award as the state's Top Young Scientist for 2010.
"I spent the rest of my day watching high school basketball, but what we are recognizing here is much more important for Indiana's future," said Daniels. "Neil Kondamuri is a true superstar."
Kondamuri also received a trophy in recognition of outstanding scientific accomplishment by the highest placing senior among the state's top science and engineering competitors. He says he plans to study biology in college.
The award was co-sponsored by AIT Laboratories, Dow AgroSciences, LLC and entrepreneur Bob Compton.