annual: Adjective for something that happens every year. (in botany) A plant that lives only one year, so it usually has a showy flower and produces many seeds.

blood sugar: The body circulates glucose, a type of simple sugar, in blood to tissues of the body where it will be used as a fuel. The body extracts this simple sugar from breakdown of sugars and starches. However, some diseases, most notably diabetes, can allow an unhealthy concentration of this sugar to build up in blood.

component: Something that is part of something else (such as pieces that go on an electronic circuit board or ingredients that go into a cookie recipe).

diabetes: A disease where the body either makes too little of the hormone insulin (known as type 1 disease) or ignores the presence of too much insulin when it is present (known as type 2 diabetes).

gel: A gooey or viscous material that will sometimes flow like a thick liquid.

glucose: A simple sugar that is an important energy source in living organisms. As an energy source moving through the bloodstream, it is known as “blood sugar.” It is half of the molecule that makes up table sugar (also known as sucrose).

high school: A designation for grades nine through 12 in the U.S. system of compulsory public education. High-school graduates may apply to colleges for further, advanced education.

hormone: (in zoology and medicine) A chemical produced in a gland and then carried in the bloodstream to another part of the body. Hormones control many important body activities, such as growth. Hormones act by triggering or regulating chemical reactions in the body. (in botany) A chemical that serves as a signaling compound that tells cells of a plant when and how to develop, or when to grow old and die.

hydrogel: A “smart” polymer-based material that can change its structure in response to its environment, such as the local temperature, pH, salt or water concentration. The polymers that make up a hydrogel have water-attracting ends sticking out. Those ends help hydrogels latch onto molecules of water. Some hydrogels are used in baby diapers to hold urine. Others are added to potting soils to hold water near to plants until they need it. Still others may be part of wound dressings to prevent a sore from drying out.

hydrogen peroxide: A molecule made of two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms. Highly reactive, it can kill many tiny organisms, including germs.

insulin: A hormone produced in the pancreas (an organ that is part of the digestive system) that helps the body use glucose as fuel.

protein: A compound made from one or more long chains of amino acids. Proteins are an essential part of all living organisms. They form the basis of living cells, muscle and tissues; they also do the work inside of cells. Antibodies, hemoglobin and enzymes are all examples of proteins. Medicines frequently work by latching onto proteins.

Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair: (Regeneron ISEF) Initially launched in 1950, this competition is one of three created (and still run) by the Society for Science. Each year now, approximately 1,700 high school students from more than 60 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research at Regeneron ISEF and to compete for an average of almost $9 million in prizes.

society: An integrated group of people or animals that generally cooperate and support one another for the greater good of them all.

Society for Science: A nonprofit organization created in 1921 and based in Washington, D.C. Since its founding, the Society has been promoting not only public engagement in scientific research but also the public understanding of science. It created and continues to run three renowned science competitions: the Regeneron Science Talent Search (begun in 1942), the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (initially launched in 1950) and MASTERS (from 2010 to 2022) and the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (launched in 2023). The Society also publishes award-winning journalism: in Science News (launched in 1922) and Science News Explores (created in 2003).


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