Sibling Scientists Compete at Brookhaven National Lab’s Science Fair

Two of the district’s dedicated young scientists, siblings Brendan Eising and Kayley Eising, won honorable mention at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s annual Elementary School Science Fair. More than 500 students from 120 different Suffolk County schools competed in this year’s fair.

To compete in the BNL Elementary School Science Fair, students were required to win first or second place in their own school’s science fair. At JFK’s science fair, Brendan won first place in the fifth grade, while his sister Kayley was the second-place winner for the third grade.

Brendan’s project for this year’s fair, “Pink-Eye Pad, a Touchy Subject,” explored his hypothesis that since an iPad can only be cleaned with a lint-free cloth, it would contain more germs than a computer keyboard because the latter can be sanitized with a cleaning agent such as bleach. His experiment involved swabbing the surfaces of an iPad and computer keyboard for germs before and after cleaning, then growing bacteria from these swabs in petri dishes. His results showed that while the computer keyboard was germ-free after being cleaned, the iPad had hardly any bacteria on it at all, even before it was cleaned. The idea for this project came to the fifth-grader (and overall winner of last year’s BNL science fair) after he was diagnosed with a bad case of conjunctivitis and not allowed to use his family’s iPad during that time for fear that he would spread bacteria from his eyes onto the iPad and infect other family members.  

Kayley’s project, titled “My Brother and Matt Harvey, Torn Apart,” sought to determine how an injured ligament affects throwing distance. The experiment was inspired by injuries to her brother and New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, who both tore ulnar collateral ligaments in their throwing arms during the same week. Kayley attended all of her brother’s physical therapy sessions, where she learned that ligaments are like rubber bands. She built a catapult out of dowels to represent an arm and used different sizes of rubber bands, representing injured and uninjured ligaments, to launch a ball. She measured the throwing distance of each sized ligament to conclude that an injured UCL ligament cannot throw as far as a healthy ligament.