Benjamin Jolitz received a second place award for the 2004 Synopsys Science and Technology Championship. The competition was held at the San Jose Convention Center. Over 900 of the San Francisco bay area's best science students from middle/high school competed with over 500 projects in a variety of subjects, among them physics, earth/space sciences, chemistry, and biology.
Ben received his second place award as part of an invited awards ceremony at Great America (see "Grand Prize Student Awards Student Awards"). All the winners also received complementary tickets for family to attend the awards and a day at the park. The theme of the park this spring was "Star Trek", one of Ben and his sister Rebecca's favorite science fiction shows. Here they are standing before a replica of the Enterprise before the ceremony.
Ben's project, The Perfect Eye, was in the area of optics. He used double stars as measures of the optical resolution of his 6 inch and 3 inch Newtonian reflecting telescopes. He was able to empirically prove that Dawes limit accurately described the best resolution possible, once a telescope was correctly collimated.
He used multiple collimation techniques to probe the edges of Dawes limit, and to prove the best he could get for different apertures of telescopes. This same project won him a blue ribbon at his school, C.T. English middle school. Ben intends to continue his studies in astronomy and robotics at Los Gatos High School.
Ben's Synopsys Science and Technology Championship experience is captured in a popular Internet film "The Perfect Eye" (see "Jolitz Family Video - The Perfect Eye"). The movie is a fly-on-the-wall short which followed him from beginning to end of the exciting day of competition. It was produced for and viewed by the many people who have been so supportive of Ben's interest in astronomy and telescope design.
Ben received guidance from members of the San Jose Astronomy Association and The Astronomy Observers. Ben uses it to show telescope design and interesting objects at star parties hosted by these groups and others such as the 2003 AAUW Girls Tech Trek summer camp star party at Stanford.