The Physical Universe

The Physical Universe

Definition

The Physical Universe category covers experimentation in the 
non-biological, non-behavioral area. Chemistry, physics, 
earth science, and space science all fit into this grouping.
Be sure to read the general rules and requirements, the full category description document (which also contains generic information applicable to all categories), and the rubric for the category (all of which are available at the Judging Information page here).

PERTINENT INFORMATION AND DEFINITIONS

This category is for explorations of the physical aspect of the world around us. A successful project in this category will commonly ask a question of a non-biological nature, then using research and experimentation it will attempt to answer the question and, finally, will present a conclusion. 

PROJECT SCOPE

This is one of the basic experimentation (scientific inquiry) categories. Most commonly a question is asked, a hypothesis is created, research is done, an investigation is performed, and a conclusion is reached. In other words, the use of the scientific method is expected. 

Projects in this category should have some form of log of the progress through the entire sequence. This log could be written in a log-book, or in electronic form ( see general notes and definitions for the categories).

PROJECT DISPLAY AND DESCRIPTION

The project display is a summary of all the work done on your project. It should include an understandable description of the idea or concept being explored, the methods used in that exploration, and the conclusions generated. 

Information that should be part of the display include:

  • Graphical information that will clarify the project’s scope or details
  • A list of materials used, and any construction methods used to build any custom apparatus
  • A bibliography that shows any research sources.

ENTRY, REVIEW, AND JUDGING

Judging will include an interview period and potential additional views of the project display. Judges will use an understanding of the category, this document, the rubric, and the general rules in their evaluations. Please review these documents for other items that may be considered.

WHAT WILL BE JUDGED

  • General rules and judging criteria
  • The scientific method (including completeness of thought processes and presentation of cause and effect)
  • Preparation and display of information about the entry
  • Comprehension, Completeness, Effort and Motivation of and by the entrant(s)

ADDITIONAL ITEMS THAT WILL AFFECT THE REVIEW AND JUDGING CONCLUSIONS

  • Presentation of the inquiry findings for peer review
  • Understanding of how the inquiry relates to broader scientific principles and real world applications
  • Originality and/or innovative approaches or concepts