Amazing. While most of you probably spent your pre-adolescent years picking your noses in ToysRUs, Gitanjali Rao was inventing a device that could save millions of lives.
Rao said that while she was doing her weekly perusal of MIT's Materials Science and Engineering website to see "if there's anything's new," she read about new technologies that could detect hazardous substances and decided to see whether they could be adapted to test for lead.
Rao dubbed the device Tethys, for the Greek goddess of fresh water.
Her solution was so ingenious that this week, Rao was named "America's Top Young Scientist" in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge — a distinction that comes with a cheque for $25,000.
Rao says that when she grows up, she would like to be a geneticist or epidemiologist. Her lead detection device allowed her to combine both interests, as contaminated water can cause both rashes and birth defects.
Not only did this require the understanding of the conductivity of water and lead, and how that relates to the safety of the solution; she would also have had to have had a complete understanding of the Arduino environment to be able to interact with sensors, in addition to fluency in mobile front-end design, HTTP APIs for communication between the Arduino, server, and application.
Both her engineer parents must be proud! She is following in the footsteps of the great Ahmed Mohamed (Clock Boy).
... and the ones that won't