By Ian Bush

RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) — More than 1,500 young scientists and inventors from middle and high schools across the Delaware Valley were competing today at the “Science Olympiad” at Cabrini College.

The events cover everything from chemistry and physics to forestry and fighting disease.

“I’m doing a microbe mission,” says Barbara, a freshman at Sun Valley High School who is working with microscopes and body bugs.  “You try to find treatments and prevention for some of the bacterias.”

She has her sights set on conquering cancer.  But not everything in the Science Olympiad is confined to a petri dish.

“He calls it a tubaphone,” says Joe, a senior at Haverford High School of his science partner Eli.  They came up with a musical monstrosity.

“It’s basically a bunch of PVC pipes, and we use physics to cut them at the right length, and it makes different notes,” he explains.  The longer the pipe, the lower the tone.

Joe says Eli got creative when it came time to create the instrument’s mallets:

“He just got two huge forks from his kitchen and got duct tape and taped foam around them.”

This competition exists to “enhance students’ interest in science, their curiosity about science, and hopefully some knowledge,” says regional director Anne Coleman, an associate professor at Cabrini College.

The top teams advance to the state competition next month.

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