When I think ‘science fair’, images of clumsy paper mache mountains and washing-up liquid monstrosities immediately spring to mind, but entrees at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are a little more complicated. This Fair is widely regarded as one of the biggest and the best around the world and the stakes are pretty high too. Winner Jack Andraka, 15, walked away with $75,000 in prize money for inventing a simple, non-invasive test for pancreatic cancer.
Andraka’s revolutionary test uses a dip-stick to examine blood and urine and has a 90% accuracy rate. According to the announcer who proclaimed Andraka’s test the winner, it is approximately 28 times cheaper and faster than the current technology used to test for the dangerous disease. It is also 100 times more sensitive.
Andraka said he was moved to develop such a test after pancreatic cancer claimed the lives of his uncle and a friend’s brother. He told the Washington Post that he had high hopes for his research, saying: “What I really want to do with this is get it into regular screenings, so that every single person can have it and make sure they’re safe…This can detect it before the cancer becomes invasive, so it can really help people survive.” Having also known several people who have lost their lives to pancreatic cancer, I really hope that Andraka’s test is introduced, and soon.
The runners-up at the fair also had some pretty impressive ideas, like Nicholas Schiefer, 17, who discovered a method of enabling search engines to parse Twitter and Facebook accounts and browse through small amounts of content, called ‘microsearch’… microsearch’ got Schiefer a $50,000 runners up prize money and could end up making him a hell of a lot more in the near future as social media is rapidly taking over the world! ‘
Another $50,000 winner, Ari Dyckovsky, 18, developed a new method of teleporting information through a process called ‘entanglement’. Hypervocal said of entanglement’; “Information from one atom will appear in another when the first atom’s quantum state is destroyed. This could help the National Security Administration send encrypted messages without fear of interception because data would simply appear at its destination.” Wow, impressive stuff!
40 teenage finalists took part in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, they were chosen from more than 1,500 young science whizz kids selected from hundreds of affiliate fairs across 70 different countries.
After the winners were announced the young scientists had a well-deserved party!