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November 23, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 24

Student puts science fair project behind a paywall, wins first prize

ATLANTA, GA – Tommy Wendell, a seventh grade student at Inman Middle School, has awed and amazed the scientific community by placing his science fair project behind a paywall and winning the first overall prize in a statewide competition. “By restricting access to his science fair project to only those who pay a fee or for a subscription, Tommy has demonstrated a remarkable grasp and understanding of modern science,” said Elsa Vehr, head judge of the Georgia State Science Fair.

Wendell’s science fair project consists solely of a tri-fold corrugate display board covered by a white sheet that displays current pricing options. Patrons can view the display board for 15 minutes after paying a $39.95 one-time fee, or they can purchase a subscription to the board with unlimited access for an annual fee of $2,000. A credit card reader also sits in front of the covered display board.

Tommy says he got his idea by trying to research the brown thrasher, his favorite bird and purported subject of his actual science fair project. “I tried to read about the brown thrasher online, but I couldn’t afford any of the subscription fees,” said Tommy. “So, I charged a fee for my science fair project, because I thought that’s just what all scientists do.”

As for the results of his actual science fair project, nobody really knows. “All the teachers were really excited to see how his actual project on the foraging behavior of the brown thrasher turned out,” said Tyra Jones, Tommy’s science teacher. “Unfortunately, none of us teachers have that kind of money to access his project, so no one has been able to see what exactly Tommy did.”


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