2013 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - secondary

Meet the new spider man! Casino student wins a third Eureka Prize with arachnid film.

A mini-documentary about spiders has won Casino school student Brandon Gifford the 2013 Australian Museum University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize for secondary students. It’s his third win in a row. 

Brandon Gifford, a Year 12 student at Casino High School in NSW, used film footage, animation and narration to create and explore the diversity of spider species in his local area.

Called Spectacular Spider, Brandon’s film shows spiders spinning webs, catching prey and camouflaging themselves to avoid predators. The film also explores the beauty of spider webs and the tensile strength of silk. The film-maker hopes that his work will lead viewers to respect rather than fear Australia’s much misunderstood eight-legged species.

Sponsored by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science, the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize, named in honour of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer, recognises short films that communicate a scientific concept in an accessible and engaging way.

“The number and quality of the secondary school entries showed that the skills and curiosity essential to good science research are alive and well in Australian schools,” the Director of the Australian Museum, Frank Howarth said.

“The future of the Australian nature documentary is in great hands,” he says.

Second prize in the secondary section of the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize went to Melbourne Year 9 student Alex Jaeger. The Mornington Secondary College student’s film, The Stories in the Rock, explores the range of fossils that can be found along the Victorian coastline and explains why palaeontology is important for the understanding of modern life.

Third prize went to Brandon Conway-Rusk, a Year 10 student from Devonport High School in Tasmania for Proving Charles' Law. Using basic equipment and fun experiments, Brandon demonstrated the science behind Charles’ Law, which describes how gases expand when heated.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, science journalism and communication, and school science. This year the 17 sponsored prizes include awards for agriculture, defence, infectious diseases and innovative use of technology.

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Kea Lambert , Project Officer, Eureka Prizes
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