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Schoolboy pair wins BHP Billiton Science Award

Feb '07
Ian Cannon & Rickystan Savaiko
Two schoolboys from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW have been named as the winners of the 2007 BHP Billiton Science Awards for developing a device that measures colour contrasts on various materials. The device will benefit vision-impaired people.

The BHP Billiton Science Awards are a partnership between CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and BHP Billiton. They reward students who have undertaken practical research projects which demonstrate innovative approaches and thorough scientific procedures.

As part of a project titled Versatile Colour Identification and Luminance Contrast Determination, Ian Cannon and Rickystan Savaiko developed a prototype of a portable photometric device that measures the colour contrast between two adjacent surfaces.

The device could be useful in improving building design and making spaces more accessible to vision-impaired people. As part of their research, they have also developed a unique mathematical algorithm to determine luminance contrast.

Robbie Bishop-Taylor form Great Lakes College, Forster, NSW won a second-place award for his project titled The identification of Critical Salinity Thresholds for Upper Estuarine Plants.

Parts of Australia are facing a water shortage. Reduced river flows mean that salt can accumulate in estuarine areas at higher levels than normal. Robbie looked at the critical salinity levels that five common upper estuarine plants could tolerate.

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