The Olympic Oval hosted 1,000 of the city’s brightest young minds over the last four days as part of the country's biggest regional science competition, the Calgary Youth Science Fair.

The annual event, which showcases the submissions of students between grades 5 and 12, requires 400 volunteer judges.

All participants earned their way to the science fair after winning top honours at their respective schools.

Mataya Larson, a fifth grade student, submitted a project which investigates potential energy sources for the future.

“The main answer, what my project evolved around, is what we're going to use next after oil and gas run out,” said Mataya. “I discovered that I think we should use nuclear fusion.”

Many students worked in teams, including grade 5 students McCall Holbrook and Hannah Temple. McCall and Hannah spent five months evaluating the effectiveness of hand sanitizers compared to soap.

“We used antibacterial soap because a lot of people say to buy antibacterial because it cleans your hands better the team but what we found out is that it cleans them the same way,” explains McCall.

“Just as well as regular soap that you can buy off the counter top, so it's kind of a scam,” adds Hannah.

After months of experiments, Liam Ganz and Zack Kempthorne determined hot water freezes faster than cold.

“Our theory is that because the molecules are so far apart when they're hot that this allows for more room for energy to escape and go out,” explains Liam.

Liam’s mother has been floored by the dedication and attention to details her son and his partner exhibited in their experiment.

“I didn't realize they could pull off so much,” said Marlies Ganz. “They broke a few thermometers in the process of doing these experiments, but that's all part of it.”

Organizers of the Calgary Youth Science Fair say they're always amazed at what students come up with year after year, and it starts with a simple question.

“The question ‘Why?’,” said Susan Michaud, an organizer with the science fair. “When a child is very young one of the first words they learn is why, and as they grow up they learn how to answer that question.”

“That's what these kids are doing now, ‘Why does my dog act that way?’,’Wwhy does a paper towel absorb water?’, and they go and find the answers.”

Twelve of the top students from the event will make their way to Windsor, Ontario in May where they will represent Calgary at the Canada wide finals:

  • Arjun Nair - Early Detection of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Richard Chen - C.elegans as a Model for Parkinsonʼs Disease
  • Parker Link - Non-Binary Information Storage
  • Zoe Dingeman - Improved Cooking Times and Temp Estimation
  • Hayley Todesco - Tailings and Bacteria
  • Ankita Saxena - Protein Aggregation States in TBI and AD
  • Madeleine Yeomans - Fishing for Plastics
  • Tahmid Khan - Exploring Piezoelectricity
  • Nolan Rockwell - Pharmaceutical Pollution and Plants
  • Leah Zaitlin and Magda Storkova - Water Flows Downhill
  • Sunand Kannappan = Investigating the correlation between CDK5RAP2 and NSCLC

Participants in the Canada Wide Science Fair will compete for medals, cash awards, scholarships and other prizes totaling more than $1 million.

With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming