This 17 Year Old Won $250,000 Prize In A Teen Science Fair For Inventing A Tool That Could Prevent Starvation In Africa
America’s oldest STEM competition fixed for high school students recently gave away $1.8 million to a group of ten finalists last week. These finalists displayed exceptional acumen whilst solving problems and guiding everyone towards a solution. The Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition was held virtually for the first time since its inception in 1942. But social distancing and quarantine protocols didn’t really diminish the excitement around the competition as Lillian Kay Patterson from New Mexico secured the first place. This teenager devised a simple method that would be able to predict harvest way too early into the growing season. And this method would work especially well to create an efficient food distribution system to reduce starvation in Africa. Patterson’s creation sounded really promising to many groups working around the continent to prevent food scarcity.
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How To Remove Starvation In Africa?
To prove that her method worked, Lillian had to first test it out by analyzing the satellite imagery daily and then appropriating it with accepted measures of vegetation health. After that, she had to test it out on several African countries where she found out that her method worked. In fact, her method was too precise and accurate when comparing the present yield. Lillian was inspired to take up this project as the starvation in Africa had resulted in her parents fostering several children. Also, she had read about famines in Ethiopia, where a large section of children suffered from learning problems.
The Algorithm for Computer Training
The second place was awarded to Jagdeep Bhatia, aged 18, who devised a set of two algorithms that were fast and simple. His algorithms were devised to help computers learn newer concepts under another computer or an individual. What is interesting is that his algorithms make computers ask intelligent questions that would just ease the process. And this AI can actually be used by enterprises to better train robots, chatbots, and others.
The Eco-Friendly Burner
Brendan Cotty, aged 18 secured the third position as his hybrid gas burner was definitely a need of the hour. His invention would be useful in reducing the harmful effects of manufacturing and power generation on the ecosystem. Interestingly, his burner did work at a much higher rate than normal burners whilst still emitting less nitrogen dioxide. To create this, Brendan had to develop a whole host of other skills like computer coding and metal casing.
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Maya Ajmera, the President of the society that organizes this search congratulated the participants on their brevity and intelligence. She mentioned how the pandemic we are going through has made it abundantly clear that science was necessary. Not simply to create a vaccine, but also to make sure that fewer pandemics or catastrophes would occur in the future. She believes that considering the ingenuity of winners like Patterson, the future seems to be in great hands. Be it solving the problem of starvation in Africa, or taking care of the environment- the newer generation would be up to the task.
Image Credit: SocietyforScience