Science competitions are commonplace in American schools and one recent winner has beer to credit as his inspiration.
According to a story published by the Denver Post on October 7, 2013, eleven year- old Michal Bodzianowski, a student at Colorado’s Douglas County’s STEM School and Academy, has won a national science competition in a somewhat unorthodox category for a person of such tender years. His prize winning entry is called “What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and Is It Possible?” It won a science contest that is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, which is run by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.
Bodzianowski stated, in his science proposal, that beer is “an important factor in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source.” He went on to say that beer could benefit space travelers if water supplies became contaminated. “The fermentation process could be used to make beer, which can then be used as a disinfectant and a clean drinking source,” he said.
Instructor Sharon Combs, who works with the students at STEM School and Academy, emphasized that the experience brought about through this project is worthwhile because it helps make science relevant to young people.
“It was an opportunity for them to experience science as real life, doing lab experiments with the intricacies demanded by NASA,” Combs said.
Michal’s experiment will be part of an actual space expedition and will consist of a silicon tube, roughly six inches in length, with clasps that will separate the malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. The contraption will create drinkable beer in outer space, if all goes well.
Michal is the first student from Colorado to win this competition, now in its fourth year. Nationally, a total of 11 experiments were selected as 2013 winners.
Michal’s beer experiment will launch into space in December, 2013.