Today I felt it appropriate to salute those young teenagers who “do hard things” in Science and Engineering (“We choose to go to the moon … and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”). A few specific examples:
A team of students from Goko High School, Japan entered the 2013 World Solar Challenge. The solar car they designed and built (photo above) outperformed 12 of the university teams in the contest, which is an impressive effort. The school has entered another team in this year’s contest (along with three other high schools).
Raymond Wang (17), from the St. Georges School, Vancouver, Canada, used computational fluid dynamics modelling to design a new air inlet system for aeroplane cabins to improve air quality while at the same time limiting disease transmission within the cabin. He received the Gordon E. Moore Award and $75,000 for this project.
Nicole Ticea (15), from York House School, Vancouver, Canada (working with Simon Fraser University) designed a simple and inexpensive HIV test using Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification. She later received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000 for this work.
High-school students Arthur Admiraal (16) and Jawad Nikrawesh, from Northgo College, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, spent four months designing and building an experiment to study ice cubes melting under different gravity levels. Using temperature sensors, time-lapse photography, an Arduino, and a Raspberry Pi computer, the experiment was intended to be suitable for running in space. It was actually run under high gravity in the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). The work received the Hugo van Woerden Prize from the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS).
Ellen Fitzgerald (17), Aoife Dolan (17), and Niamh Nyhan (18), from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Ireland, designed a LED streetlight bulb that could be easily retro-fitted to existing poles. They won first prize at the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) in Amsterdam.
Congratulations to these students and to the thousands of others who study hard and aim high. Well done, and keep up the good work – the world needs you!