US teen tops science fair with cancer-detection tool

Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka of Crownsville, Maryland was awarded first place for his new method to detect pancreatic cancer at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held recently in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andraka (Photo credit: http://triblive.com)

Based on diabetic test paper, Andraka created a simple dip-stick sensor to test blood or urine to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer.

His study resulted in over 90 percent accuracy and showed his patent-pending sensor to be 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests.

Andraka received the Gordon E. Moore Award, named in honor of Intel co-founder and retired chairman and CEO of $75,000.

From the Philippines, Julian Paolo Talamera Biyo, Paul Caesar Mason Flores, and Hazel Anne Jurado Hernandez from Philippine Science High School–Western Visayas Campus were winners of a fourth place grand award in the environmental sciences category and awarded $500 for their project entitled “regenerating coral fragments on bamboo artificial reefs”.

Philippine delegates (L-R) Julian Paolo Biyo, Lanz Gabriel Jabla, Elson Ian Nyl Galang, Hazel An ne Hernandez , Paul Caesar Flores, Ven Gabriel Tan, Bryce AbrahamAños, and Carla Beatriz Lazara

Two students, Nicholas Schiefer, 17, of Pickering, Ontario, Canada and Ari Dyckovsky, 18, of Leesburg, Virginia, USA, each received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000.

Schiefer studied what he calls “microsearch,” or the ability to search the fastest-growing information medium: small amounts of content, such as tweets and Facebook status updates.

Through his research, Schiefer hopes to improve search engines’ capabilities, which will in turn improve access to information.
Dyckovsky investigated the science of quantum teleportation.

He found that once atoms are linked through a process called “entanglement,” information from one atom will just appear in another atom when the quantum state of the first atom is destroyed.

Using this method, organizations requiring high levels of data security, such as the National Security Administration, could send an encrypted message without running the risk of interception because the information would not travel to its new location; it would simply appear there.

“We support the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we know that math and science are imperative to future global growth,” said Ricky Banaag, country manager, Intel Philippines.

“This competition encourages millions of students to engage their skills for innovation and develop promising solutions for global challenges.”

This year, more than 1,500 young scientists were chosen to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. They were selected from 446 affiliate fairs in approximately 70 countries, regions and territories.

In addition to the winners mentioned above, more than 400 finalists received awards and prizes for their groundbreaking work. Awards included 17 “Best of Category” winners who each received a $5,000 prize. The Intel Foundation also awarded a $1,000 grant to each winner’s school and to the affiliated fair they represent.

Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, owns and has administered the International Science and Engineering Fair since its inception in 1950, as the National Science Fair.

“We congratulate Jack, Nicholas, and Ari on their success here at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair,” said Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public.

“They and all the other finalists here this week further demonstrate how a background of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] education creates the breeding ground for creativity and ingenuity that will help solve the pressing issues of the future.”

Their projects are then evaluated onsite by more than 1,200 judges from nearly every scientific discipline, each with a Ph.D. or the equivalent of six years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines.

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