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Duquesne Light Co.
Center for STEM Education and Career Development

Sponsored by:

Duquesne Light


Category Descriptions

Select your category on the registration form.


Individuals and team projects of the same scientific discipline will compete in the same category. Students will select a project category and type (individual/team) during registration. A team consists of 2 or 3 members.

Junior Division - New Categories (Grade 6)

Behavioral and Consumer Sciences These projects will explore consumer products and the science of how people respond to the world around them. The areas include:

Consumer Related

  • Consumer Product Testing
  • Consumer Product Design and Enhancements
  • Comparisons and Evaluation of Commercially Available Products

Behavioral Science Related

  • Psychology
  • Human and Animal Behavior
  • Learning and Perception
  • Educational and Testing
  • Surveys 

Biological Sciences These projects will explore living things, including plants, animals and humans, and the things which affect them. The area includes:

Life Science Related

  • Biology, Botany & Zoology
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Growth
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics & Inherited Traits 

Health Related 

  • Nutrition
  • Human and Animal Behavior
  • Allergies
  • Exercise
  • Studies of Animal/Human Health

Chemistry These projects will explore chemistry, which includes study of any kinds of chemicals. These areas include:

Chemistry Related

  • Organic & Inorganic Chemistry
  • Chemical Compounds
  • Household Chemicals (chemistry focus, not functional emphasis)
  • Chemical Engineering

Note: If the project focuses on the biological impact/effect of the chemical, then the project should be placed in the biological category.

Physical Sciences & Engineering These projects will explore physics which includes our mechanical world, and engineering, which includes building things and solving problems:

 Physics Related

  • States of Matter
  • Optics and Photography
  • Sound and Acoustics
  • Heat, Cold and Thermal Conductivity
  • Pressure and Vacuum
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Friction
  • Inertia
  • Gravity
  • Density 

Engineering Related 

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Buildings and Bridges
  • Planes, Trains, Boats and Cars
  • Sports
  • Robotics
  • Computers
  • Energy Production, Conversion and Storage
  • Alternative Energy, such as Wind and Solar 

Intermediate Division - (Grade 7, 8)

Behavioral and Social Science: human and animal behavior, social and community relationships - psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, ethnology, linguistics, learning, perception, urban problems, reading problems, public opinion surveys, educational testing, etc.

Biology: botany, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, including hormones, molecular biology, molecular genetics, enzymes, photosynthesis, blood chemistry, protein chemistry, food chemistry, etc.

Chemistry: inorganic, organic, physical materials, plastics, fuels, pesticides, metallurgy, etc.

Consumer Science: projects in the areas of consumer product testing and design.

Computer Science/Math: development of computer hardware, software engineering, Internet, simulations; statistics, calculus, geometry, abstract algebra, number theory, probability, etc.

Earth / Space / Environment: pollution and sources of control, ecology, geology, mineralogy, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, astronomy, geology, seismology, etc.

Engineering / Robotics: technology; projects that apply scientific principles to manufacturing and practical uses - civil, mechanical, aeronautical, chemical, heating and refrigerating, transportation, electrical, photographic, sound, automotive, marine, etc.

Medicine & Health/Microbiology: bacteriology, virology, fungi, bacterial genetics, etc.; study of diseases and health of humans and animals - dentistry, pharmacology, pathology, ophthalmology, nutrition, sanitation, pediatrics, dermatology, allergies, speech and hearing, etc.

Physics: solid state, optics, acoustics, particle, nuclear, plasma, superconductivity, fluid and gas dynamics, magnetism, quantum mechanics, biophysics, etc. TEAM: all research conducted by two or three students.


Senior Division (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)

Behavioral and Social Science: human and animal behavior, social and community relationships - psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, ethnology, linguistics, learning, perception, urban problems, reading problems, public opinion surveys, educational testing, etc.

Biology: botany, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, including hormones, molecular biology, molecular genetics, enzymes, photosynthesis, blood chemistry, protein chemistry, food chemistry, etc.

Chemistry: inorganic, organic, physical materials, plastics, fuels, pesticides, metallurgy, etc.

Computer Science / Math: development of computer hardware, software engineering, Internet, simulations; statistics, calculus, geometry, abstract algebra, number theory, probability, etc.

Earth/Space/Environment: pollution and sources of control, ecology, geology, mineralogy, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, astronomy, geology, seismology, etc.

Engineering / Robotics: technology; projects that apply scientific principles to manufacturing and practical uses - civil, mechanical, aeronautical, chemical, heating and refrigerating, transportation, electrical, photographic, sound, automotive, marine, etc.

Medicine & Health / Microbiology: bacteriology, virology, fungi, bacterial genetics, etc.; study of diseases and health of humans and animals - dentistry, pharmacology, pathology, ophthalmology, nutrition, sanitation, pediatrics, dermatology, allergies, speech and hearing, etc.

Physics: solid state, optics, acoustics, particle, nuclear, plasma, superconductivity, fluid and gas dynamics, magnetism, quantum mechanics, biophysics, etc.


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