Today was our first day following the judging day. Waking up, it felt like a large weight was lifted off our backs and the entire atmosphere was a lot more relaxed. However, we still had to suit up in the morning and head to the exhibit hall because today was the public viewing day, where we get to share our projects with the public — citizens of Phoenix, students on field trips, and other student observers. A big part about Intel ISEF is giving back to the public — so sharing our research projects with the city is an essential aspect of the fair.
The public viewing session lasted from 9am – 1pm, but it wasn’t very busy for me personally. Most of the people crowded toward the flashier categories, such as engineering mechanics, where the projects usually had big, eye-catching demos. Still, explaining our research projects to public viewers was a great experience because these people were genuinely impressed and enthusiastic about our work.
After the public viewing, the rest of the afternoon was pretty free. We headed back to the hotel to rest. We had an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, which had an impressive display of actual guitars used by Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, and The Goo Goo Dolls, and a continuous feed of classic rock music videos. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to suit up once again in preparation for the special awards ceremony in the evening.
The special awards ceremony was in the same hall as the opening ceremony. It went through all the sponsors alphabetically, and each winner was called up on the stage to receive their award. In total, there were 50 special awards, hundreds of student winners, and a total of $5 million in prizes awarded. And for those of us, including me, who didn’t win a special award, we all received a one-year subscription to Wolfram Alpha and Mathematica — not a bad consolation prize.