April 7, 2015
Today we heard from our Junior Science Fair winner Shruti Verma. Ms. Verma is a 14 year old 8th grader at Marshall Middle School. She explored the influence that genetics and elements of the environment, such as TV viewing and computer time, have on the need to wear glasses. She studied 423 subjects using questionnaires and interviews with friends, classmates and on the street interviews. Her hypothesis was that if neither parent wore glasses, the subject had a 6% chance of needing glasses; if one parent wore glasses, the subject had a 25% chance of needing glass; if both parents wore glasses, the subject had a 40% chance of needing glasses.
She discovered that heredity had an overwhelming influence on the need for glasses: If both parents wore glasses the subject had a 56.7% chance of needing glasses; if one parent wore glasses the subject had a 30.2% chance of needing glasses; if neither parent wore glasses the subject had only a 19% chance of needing glasses. TV viewing had no influence but, interestingly, long periods of gazing at a computer screen correlated with a 4% increase in the need for glasses. She also discovered that the earlier the parent started wearing glasses, the stronger the influence on the child. If the parent started wearing glasses later in life there was no correlation. Ms. Shruti plans to enter the Fair next year with a related project.
Her parents are from India and her father is a computer engineer. She received a check for $100 and we will send her plaque to her when we receive it.