Student wins gold for lightning maker

Budding scientist Etienne Dreyer has built a Tesla coil to create lightning. It won a gold medal at the Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair.



Before he turns on the Tesla coil in his living room, Etienne Dreyer draws the drapes closed and puts the cat outdoors.

“You won’t want to be here for this,” he tells the grey tabby.

Then, standing a safe distance away, Dreyer fires up the chest-high tower of coiled wire.

A loud crackling fills the darkened room and blue bolts of lightning leap from the top of the coil to a nearby lightning rod.

Thousands of volts are dancing in mid-air.

The home-built artificial lightning machine created by Dreyer has won the Grade 11 home schooled student a gold at the annual Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair and a trip to the National Science Fair in Toronto to represent B.C.

Tesla coils take their name from Nikola Tesla, the genius who invented the modern-day power distribution system, remote control, radio, and the alternating current motor.

Dreyer spent months building his own Tesla coil after he saw one in action on television.

He kept running tests in his bedroom, which is how he burned a hole in his bed.

“I forgot that a bed has a metal frame inside,” Dreyer said.

“It broke through my blanket, my covers, my mattress, and it connected to the metal frame.”

After he shut the Tesla coil off, Dreyer could see smoke and embers from the charred hole in his bed.

Building his own scientific experiment is not unusual behaviour for Dreyer, who intends to become a scientist one day.

“It’s always been my passion,” he said.

“I always do these kinds of weird science experiments.”

Behind him, his proud mother Ronel nods her agreement.

The annual Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair occurs every March, and features projects from Langley, Abbotsford, Mission and Surrey.

Six to eight winners from this fair, as well as others from all over B.C., will take part in the Canada National Science Fair.

The web site is at: http://sites.google.com/site/fraservalleysciencefairs/home.

Just Posted

United voice calls for more senior services in Aldergrove

‘The people here deserve more’ says founder of the local Seniors Resource Fair

Aldergrove’s water park opens to public at discounted rates

Though the pool remains closed, the Township has decided to charge a toonie for admission

Fraser Valley pup trained in Aldergrove co-stars in A Dog’s Journey

Film premiers this weekend, starting Friday in Canadian theatres

Homeless woman unsuccessful in lawsuit against government

A Langley homeless woman tried to sue Victoria and Ottawa

Sea of purple showed support for Langley school’s ALS fundraiser

Students and staff were inspired to fundraise by the plight of a teacher living with ALS.

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Cloverdale Rodeo competition promises to be a ‘nail-biter’ this weekend

New challengers giving returning champions a run for their money

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read