August 24, 2012
Awards Piling Up for Aspiring Scientist
While it might be fatal to cats, curiosity has proven to be a formula for success for a young Elkhart student. For the past several years, Daniel Linley has used his interest in "how things work," to win a gold medal at the Elkhart Science Fair.
This past year, he based his project on which type of window works best after his curiosity was aroused by television commercials and telemarketers promoting the efficiency of modern windows.
After winning gold at the Elkhart Fair, Daniel took his project to the regional science fair at the University of Notre Dame. There he won two awards, a trophy from the ASM International Foundation and a $100 prize from the Notre Dame Physics Club.
|Elkhart's Daniel Linley won two awards at the regional science fair at the University of Notre Dame last spring. |
But the recognition didn't stop there. When the Elkhart Historic Commission heard about Daniel's research topic, members invited him to present his project at one of their meetings. One of the local members then shared Daniel's data with Indiana Landmarks, a state-wide historic preservation organization.
Indiana Landmarks recently picked Daniel as its recipient of the 2012 Sandi Servaas Memorial Award. The award is presented to an individual or educational program that engages young people in preservation or elevates their appreciation of landmarks.
Daniel, now a seventh grader at Pierre Moran Middle School, will receive the award at the Indiana Landmarks annual meeting in Indianapolis Sept. 8. He will be accompanied to the state capital by his father, Riverview fourth-grade teacher Gary Linley, and his mother Ann, an instructional designer at KMC Controls in New Paris.
Daniel’s science fair project examined the efficiency of older wood windows. Living in a 90-year-old home, Daniel was intrigued by sales peoples’ claims that new windows are more efficient.
"I wanted to know which window held in the most heat," Daniel said. After shining a heat lamp through several different types of windows, single pane, single pane with storms, and double pane, Daniel measured the heat on the outside of the window compared to the inside. "The differential would be how much heat was lost," he explained.
"I discovered the old storm windows actually held in more heat than the double-pane windows," Daniel reported. "It made sense, because when the heat hits the window, some of it goes through the first pane, but because of the air gap, less goes through the second pane."
Daniel was on his way home from Space Camp in Alabama when his parents informed him of the award. While happy to add another trophy to his collection, the 12-year-old was understandably more excited with the generous cash prize that comes along with it.
Daniel said his project showed that as long as you keep your old windows sealed well, they are more efficient, and obviously less expensive, than purchasing newer windows.
"I actually had a window guy stop by the house about a month ago," Gary Linley said. "He was in the neighborhood giving quotes on new windows. I told him, 'I have the data to show you my older windows are better than yours.'
"This data, which shows tearing out old windows isn't better, is what got Indiana Landmarks interested in the project," Gary Linley continued, explaining Indiana Landmarks is using Daniel's science to forward the organization's goal, which is to preserve the state's oldest buildings.
"Daniel's project shows that with just a little work, residents can keep their home's history and character, and save money," Gary Linley said.
Daniel put it into simpler terms. "Indiana Landmarks thinks my project is cool because it shows old things are sometimes better than new things."
While Daniel is still pondering what to spend it on, dad Gary is adamant it will go into his son's college fund.
Daniel, who previously attended the PEP program at Pinewood Elementary School, has participated in the Elkhart Science Fair every year since second grade and has done well enough to advance to the regional fair each year.
Previous projects have included a comparison of leather and vinyl for making moccasins, determining which bulb gives off the most light—fluorescent or a standard bulb; and testing the strength of plastic sandwich bags by blowing them up.
Daniel described himself as naturally curious. He is an avid reader, and always has a book in hand. Science is definitely his favorite subject. "I find it really interesting. When I look at something, I want to know how it works," Daniel said. "And I want to understand why things happen like they do. It gives me things to think about."
When he's not thinking about science, Daniel likes to bike, play with his pets, and compete in ballroom dancing. He also, along with his family, participates in Revolutionary War reenactments.
Eager to share his love of science with other Elkhart students, Daniel pointed out a lot of science experiments are fun to do. "Maybe you have a question you've always wondered about, but no one has explained the answer to you," Daniel said. "You can answer your own questions and gets awards for it. And you can base your science projects on your specific interests."
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