Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Science fairs have reached new levels of intensity, and students are turning to trendy topics like stem-cell research and intelligent design to get a leg up, the Wall Street Journal reports. 'Serene Chen says she might not be at Harvard now were it not for her application essay, which described her fetal-stem-cell research on the characteristics of Down syndrome. "If you say you studied something like 'random molecule,' it's obscure, but when you say 'stem cells,' people really perk up," says Ms. Chen, 20, now a sophomore. ... Of a 2002 project involving marijuana muffins for pain management in Santa Cruz, Calif., Mission Hill Middle School science teacher Sherri Kilkenny says, "It got all this attention, but it was very average at best." '"