Montréal, May 17, 2012 – Fifteen-year-old Laurent V. Joli-Cœur was granted the Best Project Award, along with a $10,000 cash award, at the 51st Canada-Wide Science Fair – the highest distinction presented at this renowned science competition that ended last Saturday in Charlottetown. The judges were highly impressed with Laurent’s astronomy experiment, titled La quête de l’ombre jovienne, which enabled this student at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montréal to scientifically prove the existence of a shadow cast by the planet Jupiter.
For his Science Fair project, Laurent undertook the challenge of proving that a fifth celestial body – the gas giant Jupiter – is able to project a perceptible shadow like those of the Sun, the Moon, the Milky Way and Venus. His passion for astrographics inspired him to design an instrument modeled on the sundial that could reproduce the projection of an astral shadow. By inserting a camera inside the sundial, he was able to capture three images that demonstrated a slight shift in Jupiter’s shadow, while also eliminating other potential sources of the shadow. Laurent is now recognized by readers of Discover, a popular periodical, as the very first astronomer to have photographed a shadow cast by this planet!
Laurent’s participation in the Canada-Wide Science Fair was made possible by Merck, which has been sponsoring the Québec delegation to this event for the past two decades. “Merck congratulates the young scientists who demonstrated boundless creativity and ingenuity! We are proud to support the next generation of scientists and to contribute to encouraging young people’s enthusiasm for science and research,” said Anne-Véronique Juneau, Clinical Research Director in Canada, Global Clinical Trial Operations, Merck, and a former Science Fair exhibitor herself.
Laurent V. Joli-cœur has won awards worth, in total, more than $21,000:
• Best Project Award - $10,000 cash Award sponsored by Research in Motion (RIM)
• Platinum Award – Best Intermediate Project - $5,000 cash Award sponsored by Research in Motion (RIM)
• Gold Medal – Intermediate – and $1,500 cash Award
• Discovery Challenge Award – Intermediate - $750 cash Award sponsored by Youth Science Canada
• University of Western Scholarship - $4,000 Entrance Scholarship
More than 500 young people from every Canadian province and territory took part in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, held from May 12 to 19 in Charlottetown. The Québec delegation included 40 young men and women. Their participation is made possible thanks to the financial support of Merck and the CDLS-CLS Network. La Presse is also a media partner of the delegation.
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