Meet the junior scientist with a passion for physics
Who: Leon H., St Andrew's Cathedral School, NSW
A self-proclaimed car enthusiast, Leon was fascinated by how his tiny toy cars defied gravity and travelled upside down around a loop track without falling to the floor. In Tour de Force, he uses a delightful combination of demonstrations, illustration and performance to examine the role of centripetal force in this natural phenomenon.
Awarded third place in the 2021 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize – Primary
Why did you decide to enter the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize?
I thought it would be a great opportunity to investigate a topic that fascinates me and delve into an area of science that isn’t what I learn at school. I’m also inspired by science presenters like David Attenborough and was keen to try my hand at presenting on camera.
I thought it would be a great opportunity to investigate a topic that fascinates me and delve into an area of science that isn’t what I learn at school.
Your short film is filled with so many creative demonstrations! How did you come up with them all?
I tried to think of examples of centripetal force in everyday life, like my toy car track, a tennis ball on a string and spinning round with a friend. I don’t have a computer graphics program at home, but one of my favourite hobbies is drawing, so I decided to explain centripetal force with my own illustrations drawn with a pen on a white board. Then I thought about the moon rotating around the earth and how I could represent that. I like to dance, so decided it would be a fun to perform with costumes and music!
What was the best part about making your film?
It was great to learn more about one of my favourite subjects, physics!
What was the most difficult part?
I wasn’t always a ‘one-take-wonder’! Sometimes it took many times to record my presentations on camera without any mistakes!
What was the most interesting thing that you learnt?
I found it fascinating how the law of inertia related to centripetal force.
Anyone who’s watched Tour de Force will know that you love cars. Tell us about your collection.
I have been collecting diecast cars since I was about two years old. I now have around 300 models of historical and modern vehicles. After I memorised all the model names and specifications, I became interested in the physics of how they work. When I grow up, I want to be a car designer or work in the electric vehicle industry.
Sponsored by the University of Sydney, the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize encourages students to communicate a scientific concept in a short film. It is intended to support budding young scientists across the nation, who will be our future leaders in research, discovery and communication.