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Today was overall a pretty relaxed day but there were also a lot of fun moments. We awoke early in the morning and had breakfast in the hotel. I had to go get my project inspected at the convention center. Inspection was quick this morning, unlike the hour-long wait times last night.

Weather today was perfect as usual with humidity under 20% and highs in the mid-90s. After the inspection, we headed to a movie screening of “Science Fair,” a documentary following several students from around the world and their journeys to ISEF as well as their experiences at the fair. On the way to the theatre, we witnessed dozens of nude sculptures posing in abstract positions. After the movie, we went out to lunch at a Thai place, after overcoming some navigational difficulties. After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to rest until the opening dinner.

The opening dinner took place in yet another massive room, with hundreds of tables and food galore. We sat with the other kids from CT. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, taking the scenic route through a Spanish-style church with a turf-covered courtyard. The streets of Phoenix are actually a surprisingly quiet and empty environment, despite what the many high-rise buildings suggest.

After waking late from another nap at the hotel, we had to book it back to the convention center to make it to the highlight of the night — the opening ceremony. It was held in probably the biggest room of the week, second only to the exhibit hall, and was equipped with studio quality lights, huge speakers, and craning cameras. A dance group called Eclipse performed, infusing dance with technology, synchronizing their motions with the animations on the screen behind them. Then, the keynote speaker presented to us about his journey from ISEF presenter to a long, successful career in science research. Finally, the best part of the ceremony — the international introductions. Each country, in alphabetical order, was featured on the screen with their personal intro videos, and ran up to the stage with their posters. Over 80 countries were represented on the stage by the end.

After the opening ceremony, we headed back to the hotel. Overall, the experience at ISEF so far has been very smooth and we’ve had the opportunity to meet and hear from so many interesting people from around the world. I’m looking forward to the excursions tomorrow and the opportunity to interact with more new people.

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