On March 23rd the White House will recognize the science and engineering achievements of students and teams of students in 34 different projects for the Fifth White House Science Fair. The President should, as he has before, tour the Fair, and live video will be available through the White House website. In case not every project gets time in front of the camera, please take a look at each of the participants here. (One of the projects comes from my hometown, which is a nice surprise.)
My guesses as to what will get the most attention are the tech projects. Robots are usually a good bet to get eyeballs, and a few robotics teams are exhibiting at the fair. The jukebox piano and the augmented wheelchair could also catch a fair amount of interest.
I’ve been curious about how the projects are selected, and this recent Science Friday interview with current U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy for Science Jo Handelsman hints at it. White House staff apparently sort through science and technology fairs and similar competitions (one team was a finalist in Verizon’s Innovative App contest) and then select teams that represent a diversity of projects and people. While I still think presenting at the White House Science Fair could be a great incentive for young researchers and tinkerers, there may not be a direct line for making that happen.