Winning an all-expense paid trip to the International Science Fair May 11-17 in Cleveland, Ohio, with his seismic research project, Chris Short will represent Northview High School among students from 40 other countries.
"Most students do their projects in conjunction with colleges and universities, but Chris did all his work at Northview's seismic station. We (Northview) have the potential to do some really good things with our seismic station. Chris is the first one to use it to completion with a full-blown science project," Jeff Sayers, advanced placement physics teacher, said.
Short said he was inspired to work on mine blasts after he worked with Princeton Earth Physics Project, which is a network of high schools with seismometers that send research-quality information about Indiana geography worldwide using computer software and studying wave characteristics to interpret data.
"I think the judges liked my project because of its originality and the huge amount of data I collected, which I had no control over, and to make sense of that data was very difficult. I compared five different blast perimeters against four different seismic wave characteristics," Short said.
He collected three-month blast schedules from local coal mines and went back to the seismic records to match patterns with the blasts. He compared the number of holes, depths of holes and pounds of explosives used in each blast and attempted to attribute changes in wave characteristics of the seismogram to changes in specific blast perimeters. He measured changes in wave frequency, duration and distance between blasts and seismic records.
After winning at the regional level, Short traveled to the state science fair competition, where he was awarded a one-year scholarship to Purdue University. Short plans to attend Purdue and study computer science and programming. The Northview senior participates in Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, Junior Engineering Technical Society, various academic teams and soccer.