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A new spin on an old idea: Sable River teen competing at national science fair

Jonathan Dares stands at his display at the National Science Fair in Saskatchewan.
Jonathan Dares stands at his display at the National Science Fair in Saskatchewan.

SABLE RIVER, NS - A young scientist’s hot and cold idea has taken him to the nationals in the national science fair.

A sketch by Robert Savage depicting Jonathan Dares at the Canadian Science Fair.

Jonathan Dares has found a way to use an old invention to solve world problems and reduce environmental impact - a discovery that has taken him all the way to the top of the competition circuit, where the brightest young scientists in the country are gathered in Regina from May 14-20 for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
“I feel like I have already won,” said the Grade 11 student at Lockeport Regional High School.  
He felt nervous at the last level of competition when it was being decided who would move forward, but since then, all nervousness has melted away.
“I’ve already won plenty by getting this trip,” said Dares.  “Anything else would be a bonus.”

New uses for old idea
‘A new spin on an old idea,’ is the name of his project he is presenting.
“My project is a vortex tube,” said Dares.  “Something that’s already been invented."  
A vortex tube is a tube of spinning air. Compressed air goes in and spins and the molecules separate to create cold air on one end and hot on the other.
Dares figured the old invention, first invented in 1928 by George Ranque, could be reworked for modern day uses.
“My ideas for uses are to heat your car in the winter as soon as you move and to have air conditioning in the summer without burning more gas or using coolants - both are bad for the environment,” said Dares.  
He also thinks the system can be used in third-world countries to keep medical supplies cool.
“You can get compressed air wherever there is running water,” he said.

What’s the secret?
Finding an idea is the hardest part of competing at science fairs, he said.
“It takes weeks of surfing the Internet, lots of research, thinking and thinking some more,” said Dares.
What he looks for is something that is simple yet useful.
This isn’t the first great idea Dares has had.  Last year, he won the best toy inventor award at the national level through the Spin Master competition.
“My secret?” Asked Dares. “No secret, just hard work and a very supportive mom who pushes me to do my best and try things I wouldn’t think I could do.”

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