Adventures in Ethics and Science

Want to judge a science fair?

For those of you readers in the San Francisco Bay Area:

The Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship is coming up (March 8-9) at the McEnery Covention Center in San Jose. Not only are they looking for volunteers, but they are especially in need of judges. (At this point, they have almost 800 projects entered and just over 200 judges.)

The judging takes place March 9, during the day (11:30 am – 4:30 pm). I’ve judged in this fair before and it’s a great experience. The kids are very enthusiastic about science, and about what they’ve learned in their projects. Judges who are clearly engaged in their projects amplify this enthusiasm like you wouldn’t believe. The people I’ve met judging have been a fun bunch, too — working and retired scientists in industry, professors and postdocs, a full range of science-savvy grown-ups who still have their childlike fascination with science. And, if you judge, they feed you lunch.

If you think (or even suspect) you have the mad science skillz to help with the judging, do consider signing up to be a judge. It will mean a lot to the kids, and you’ll have a blast.

UPDATE: Information about science fairs in other regions in the comments. If you’d like to add information about a fair in your regions, go right ahead.


  1. #1 Bill Hooker
    February 24, 2006

    Yes, do sign up. I was a judge at the Intel International Science Fair a couple of years ago when it came to Portland, OR, and I had a great time. The standard of the projects is astonishingly high, and these are some great kids — really enthusiastic and curious, and they just about wag their tails with pleasure at being able to bounce ideas off working scientists. I’ll be volunteering at the local fair this year as well.

  2. #2 Craig Pennington
    February 24, 2006

    NB: If you can’t make it out to San Fran, it’s not unlikely that your local school system is looking for volunteers to judge local science fairs. Contact your local school for details. Worth doing even if you have to wait til next year for the opportunity.

  3. #3 Gerry L
    February 24, 2006

    Hey, Bill. I volunteered at the check-in desk at the ISEF event in Portland. Maybe I gave you your badge.

    For anyone who lives in the Portland area, the 23rd Annual Intel Northwest Science Expo will be held on Friday, March 17, and they are looking for judges.

    From the invitation:
    The Expo is the state science fair for Oregon and Southwest Washington Middle and High School students. There will be well over 550 projects ranging from Behavioral and Social Sciences to Mathematics, Computer Science, and Zoology at this year�s Expo. More info at

  4. #4 Bill Hooker
    February 26, 2006

    Gerry, unless one cannot guess your sex from your name it wasn’t you. 🙂 But when I said “the local fair” I meant the NWSE on March 17; perhaps I’ll see you there?

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