College Science Fairs are not common, but should basically be an extension of High School Science Fairs. They obviously need to be much more detailed and specific, highlighting new ideas and concepts in the various fields of science. What are some potential topics that could be presented and would benefit both the student and the public, showing how the college is advancing the causes of science?
One possible area is genetic engineering. They could show how the plants are altered and how this is different from the old style science of genetic manipulation by strain selection. Safety could be discussed and demonstrated using either bacterial cultures or small animals by feeding them the new plants, showing how much healthier they are and the more rapid growth. If the gene altering is to decrease pesticide use, maybe the adverse effects of the two products (genetic with no pesticides and the regular with pesticides) shown. Maybe the student could show how genes can be inserted into microbes to produce needed products such as insulin and how it replaces more traditional sources, making this essential product affordable for everyone. These topics are usually beyond the high school level.
Saving money by demonstrating alternative fuel or power sources is another topic. Better fuels through chemistry or more efficient engine designs are needed, the current ones discussed and possible improvements shown. The College Science Student can try mixing metals for better strength or longer lasting materials. Astrophysics and Nanotechnology are also growing subjects that could be used as topics. It would highlight what is currently being done and the problems being encountered.
The same is true in Medical Science. Topics would include sources and development of new or cheaper medicines as well as how to avoid side effects. Virology and Bacteriology are also growing medical fields that are not easily understood by many of the general public. Throw in alternative medicine from traditional folklore and people will be lining up to see the science fair. It would show how money is being spent at the university level and the type of education the students are getting.
And that is what the topics of a college science fair need to be about, how the universities are better preparing students to work in the sciences. How funds for education are benefiting everybody. The topics and projects should be something not possible at any other level of education. These are just a few examples of topics that could be done.