Student Science Communication Grant Competition

$3,000 in funding available

Scope of work:

Part 1: writing an essay/article

Part 2: getting people to read it

Eligibility: high school and undergrad students (middle schoolers, maybe)

Background: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a failure to adequately disseminate accurate and actionable information has made our present situation far worse than needed. This is a separate problem from that of fake news with intransigent people who are resistant to information. This is a problem where managers of private equity firms, executives in large corporations, administrators of k-12/colleges, and municipal politicians (all of whom have roughly an elementary school level science education) are unable to figure out what it is they need to do. Although various scientists have made valiant efforts to educate the public (including such people), there has not been an integrated response connecting the scientific information to the "boots on the ground" so to speak. This disconnect has led to widespread hygiene theater, which may be better than nothing since some portions of it ends up being correct even by mistake. This is a high level systems integration problem we are attempting to resolve with this grant competition.

Although many people's first thought is that a biological response must be the focus of a biological threat, as we have seen with masks, that is not necessarily the case. A mask is made from textiles with machinery made from steel, transported on ships made of steel, fueled by gas or diesel. Though a mask might seem like a simpler technology than the sophisticated approaches needed to advance the biological response with vaccines, we may be better prepared to work on vaccines. There is a massive workforce of experts working on vaccine development, who before COVID-19, may have been focused on problems of a very similar nature. We have the infrastructure to do biology, and we are even able to anticipate the possible outcomes so that we can build the production capacities for multiple possible vaccines ahead of time. But war-like efforts of ramping up manufacturing of simple products is not something we are as familiar with.

Additionally, for the non-biological response, most people have not reached the equivalent level of understanding that a vaccine is what we need. For those that are not aware, the non-biological response that is needed is indoor air circulation that inactivates viruses. At a systems level, that would be a vaccine-grade response in efficacy. In particular, we know that more air flow is better than less air flow, that a less expensive system is better than a more expensive system, that quieter is better than louder, that compact solutions are better than bulky ones, and that inducing turbulence in a room with high velocity air is better than low velocity air. These requirements follow directly from what scientists have concluded abour airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a workshop covering all the key aspects. This set of requirements led to the machines Reflow Labs is building, and they are rather different from existing machines that were built to meet the needs of hospitals (bacterial threat, primarily) and were built with the economics of hospitals in mind, which is not scalable to the greater economy.

Prior to the Reflow Labs Airsafe, a HEPA air purifier was the best option, but a HEPA purifier requires pushing air through a dense filter of small holes, which consumes energy, produces sound, and requires replacing the expensive filter every 6-12 months. The Airsafe is the first ever well-designed air cleaning system with UVC, which has a lower power, quieter fan, yet achieves higher air flow, and uses an inexpensive to replace UVC bulb, with high radiant efficiency through the use of well-positioned mirror-polished aluminum that amplifies the effective irradiance that hits the air (air is not a lossy medium and mirror polished aluminum with 90% reflectivity in UVC range can achieve a theoretical 10x amplification factor in a perfectly designed optical system).

Yet, you are probably only finding out now that this is the definitively better solution and that it's physically impossible for HEPA purifiers to win, and this is a problem.

Competition: Write articles/essays on this subject in an attempt to remedy this problem and educate the public. There are a lot of clueless people out there and they need your help. Politicians of every city, state, and nation, account-executives of companies, the private equity managerial people that own restaurant an gym chains -- none of them know how to figure things out in this domain, and they desperately need your help.

Task 1: Generate a piece of content 650 to 3000 words in length (any number of images). All well-written pieces will be published on our website.

Task 2: Generate high value backlinks to that article. A backlink is a link from another website, and high value means it is considered reputable to Google. One approach to this would be to spin your first piece of content and see if you can get it published as an op-ed in some news magazine and have it link to this website. An approach we're taking for backlinks is putting together this competition with the requirement that the school link to this page.

Example subjects: history of bad water sanitation with urban densificiation and the failure of people to accept germ theory drawing parallels to the failure to accept the need for sanitary air; energy and noise variation between low pressure axial and high pressure centrifugal fans; numerical illiteracy among the professional managerial class (polticians, venture capitalists, fund mangers, etc) and the existential risks this has proven to pose (though all content must be non-partisan); the problem with taking a purely biological approach when we expect to have more frequent pandemics going forward (1-2 years for vaccine deployment doesn't cut it, and vaccines do not fully eliminate the disease); the economics of failing to deploy air sanitation measures; the failure of public health institutions to recognize aerosol transmission and their inability to operate on the precautionary principle to deploy the trivial technologies needed; etc.

Awards: All content published will receive $50 (anticipating up to 25 total). Content published on news sites will also receive $50 and one person can write multiple articles. The top 3 articles by backlink score will receive an additional $250. News sites might also pay you for your contributions. Backlink scoring process based on website authority: 75+: 20 points; 50-75: 6 points; 30-50: 2 points; 20-30: 1 point.

Eligibility and Submission: Your school must have a backlink to our website (it can be to this page or any other) for your submission to be valid. Submissions must be from an email associated with your school (except for high schoolers that may not have a school email). All submission should be sent to grants [/at/]

Submissions are due by December 10th, 11:59 PM EST. View counts will be based on data for 3 months, giving you time to work on backlinks.

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