Blinded Me With Science
"Science Fair," a product of the National Geographic channel, is exactly why I often find documentaries to be so worthwhile. The top ones entertain and inform, and "Science Fair" does just that. It makes you feel warm with hope about the future while presenting a truly exciting contest where you will find it difficult to not root for someone without rooting against anyone else.
At a time in our history where some no longer find science to be believable or even important at all, it's comforting to know that there are still plenty of teenagers out there who burn with desire to make life better for the rest of us. Their motives aren't completely altruistic. They are looking to get into the best schools and achieve personal success, but the products of their determination will do great things for society as a whole.
The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) runs the international contest, and while the world has so much trouble getting along, it's good to know that the participants in the science fair don't think along the same lines. Their common bond is a drive to learn. In total, there are 1700 entrants from 78 countries.
Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster are the co-directors of "Science Fair" and they do a great job of making it a pleasantly tense affair. They focus on about ten of the qualifiers for the grand prize and among them you find numerous types of backgrounds and personalities. You can't help rooting for some of them, especially the ones who have no support systems behind them.
A few are worth mentioning specifically. Myllena and Gabriel are two teens living in the tiny town of Iracema, Brazil, who are working on a cure for the Zika virus. Robbie, from Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia is always smiling while telling us about how machines learn. Somehow, he is barely passing his high school math class. Ivo lives in Lorch, Germany and he is involved in developing a flying wing, which could have a major impact on aviation. Kashfia is a child of Pakistani immigrants who lives in Brookings, South Dakota. She is virtually ignored there, but for one week a year she gets to be among the other teens who share her love of science. Only there can she feel comfortable.
It is impossible to miss the point that diversity is one of the most important parts of "Science Fair." This is an arena where culture, race, and gender simply don't matter. It's also obvious that immigration is one of America's greatest resources for any future success. Go see "Science Fair" and smile for 90 minutes.