science_fair_winnersGreat kids abound. They can tackle any problem in the world today. Last Friday the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for high school students showcased the world’s best young scientists and inventors competing for (US) $4 million in awards and scholarships.

One of the three winners, 16-year-old Madhavi Gavini, from Mississippi, tried to find a way to kill the pathogen that causes secondary infections often leading to death in patients with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, AIDS and burn victims. Ultimately she found the answer. . .

She studied a myriad of herbal compounds and extracts known for their antiseptic qualities in both traditional and alternative medicine. She found a molecule in one compound that is safe and effective and suitable for use in an inhaler or antiseptic spray.

One of the kids who didn’t win was featured in Wired last week. A 16-year-old high school student in Montreal developed a science project that produced a new way to create electricity using “the brawny power of bacteria.” He generated half the voltage of a normal AA battery and it kept cranking for more than two days. The bacteria contains a tiny magnet and is quite common and found in fresh water and saltwater around the world. “Madiraju envisions clean-running underwater power plants in the developing world.” A Montreal University professor said the application is not too far-fetched.

The other two winners of the science fair competition studied the ability to predict earthquakes and the phenomenon of the bigger things always flowing to the top in a container.