A holiday musing when travelling across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge has turned into a STANSW Young Scientist Award for Year 11 student Hayden Westwood.

The Science Teachers’ Association of NSW (STANSW) Rowe Scientific Depth Study Bronze Award recognises Hayden’s examination of how resonance – a phenomenon linked to the natural vibration frequency of objects – affected the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse.

The Washington-based suspension bridge famously fell into the Puget Sound during a windstorm in 1940. It is similar in construction to the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I feel very happy and privileged to receive an award for something I really enjoyed researching,” Hayden, of St John Bosco College Engadine, said.

“Overall the project was an interesting experience, with the results showing that there was a resonance effect on the bridge” – Hayden Westwood

Hayden said project highlights included building a model of the bridge, researching various professors’ estimations on the collapse and problem solving how to allow for a constant mechanical vibration to test his hypothesis. He attached a massage gun to an apparatus as a solution.

Hayden said his interest in Physics stemmed from a love of Mathematics, a subject he has been accelerated in by two years since Year 1.

“I have been very fortunate to have had awesome Mathematics and Science teachers throughout my education, especially Mr Shiel and Mr Balzarano, that have allowed my passion for physics to flourish,” he said.

Putting all the parts together in a report was a challenge that was really enjoyableHayden Westwood


The STANSW Young Scientist Awards is a major project of the Science Teachers’ Association of New South Wales (STANSW). It has been running since 1992 and is headed up by a 15-member committee representing all sectors of education.

Informed by the world of Science, Mathematics and Technology, the Awards encourage Kindergarten to Year 12 students to find creative solutions to everyday problems to make our lives better. 

The STANSW Young Scientist Awards are structured into three major categories:

  • Working Scientifically;
  • Working Technologically; and
  • Working Mathematically.

The Young Scientist Award Scheme is a NSW syllabus based K-12 STEM initiative.