Australia's next sleek geek will be one of these school children

Sleek geeks seeing red. Rosanna Cartwright and Elli Rugg. Supplied.

Australia’s next sleek geeks, or young scientists, will be selected from school students who have investigated such pressing issues as to whether the saying “You’ll catch your death of cold” is true or not and whether seeing through red lenses improves your physical prowess.

When swimmer Cate Campbell beat her sister, Bronte, in recent Olympic Trials, two friends from Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, Sydney, wondered whether it was because she was wearing red-tinted lenses in her swim goggles.

Rosanna (Rosie) Cartwright and Elli Rugg decided to test this theory.

Their experiments, and accompanying video, made them finalists in the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize.

“At our local swim club, some of the swimmers … say that wearing red-lensed goggles feels great and helps you swim faster,” says Rosie.

“We decided to investigate. In our film we show how the eyes and brain work together to see colour.”

The pair describe what scientists already know about the effects of seeing the colour red, in particular concentration, focus, blood pressure, pulse and energy levels.

They also cite research showing that, in close competitions, wearing red is an advantage.

Two primary school children and three secondary school students are finalists in the 2016 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka prize.

They are:

Primary School Category

    Seeing Red, Rosanna Cartwright and Elli Rugg, Santa Sabina College, NSW. Seeing Red tests the theory that wearing red might give a competitive edge. In the film Rosanna and Elli explain how the eyes and brain work together to see colour and take to their local swimming pool with red-lenses goggles.

    The Bluebottle and the Glaucus Hayden Ingle, Banksmeadow Public School, NSW. Hayden was inspired to create his film after discovering a glaucus atlanticus on the beach and wondering what it was and what it ate. In The Bluebottle and the Glaucus, Hayden uses some of his own underwater footage to share his love and experience of the ocean with the viewer.

Secondary School Category

    No Place For Race Tom Downie and Harry Bebbington, Warrandyte High School, Victoria. In No Place for Race, Tom and Harry explore how and where our ape-like ancestors developed into one species — Homo sapiens — through creation myths, fossils, dating methods, evolution and the migration of hominids. They also explain why the concept of race is irrelevant.

    Owl Pellets: A Postal System to Scientists Claire Galvin and Anna Hardy, St Monica’s College Cairns, Queensland. Owl Pellets: A Postal System to Scientists is an investigation of the Barn Owl’s adaptations, features and the formation of owl pellets. Claire and Anna explain how these owl pellets are used by scientists to gather data for conservation efforts, animal population studies and ecosystem monitoring.

    Sniffles, Meg Paterson, The Scots School Albury, NSW. Taking inspiration from the old saying “You’ll catch your death of cold”, Meg’s film Sniffles, explains why we have created such a strong association with catching a cold, and being cold.

There were also 14 highly commended entries. The full list is HERE.

First and second place for the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize will be announced at Sydney Town Hall on August 31.

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