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Science fairs ignite spark

Anyone who doesn’t see the value of science fairs should sit down with Fairland High School junior Robert Hinshaw.

The student converted a science fair project to study pollution levels in the Ohio River and its tributaries into a trip to California and being named an honorary fellow of the American Junior Academy of Science.

And the results of his actual project weren’t too shabby either.

Hinshaw discovered that the streams and creeks in Lawrence County are more polluted than the Ohio River, a discovery that may shock many residents and certainly goes against the common belief that the river is the dirtiest waterway in the region.

Hinshaw took samples of water from the Ohio, the Swan, Indian Guyan, Symmes, Guyandotte, Seven-Mile and Guyan creeks.

He tested the water samples for a variety of pollutants, including the amount of E. coli found in the river and streams.

Sound impressive for a fledgling scientist still in high school? Consider the fact that Hinshaw did this two years ago as a freshman.

Some critics have voiced concerns about the value or need to have science or academic fairs in our primary and secondary schools.

This should be considered part of the argument as to why these projects are important. Hinshaw — and hundreds more like him — get to expand their horizons and learn about what makes our world go.

Who knows? The next Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton or Louis Pasteur might be setting in a local classroom thinking about their next project.