When Education & Individual Achievement Flourish

There’s always news which dishearten or depress someone to look at and I believe it impacts people in a way that creates resignation and cynicism. This is a diverse planet and certainly the United States is a mix of good and bad. We often view the world as if we turned the Champaign glass upside down and rather than allow the positive to flow in, we pour it all over the stem and wonder why there’s misanthropy and despair. There are a lot of good people who never have their story told because it’s the ordinary rather than the extraordinary. Sometimes there’s extraordinary work being conducted, right under our noses and we need to look at that as well. I’m not talking about the recent Hillary Clinton’s fees for speeches of $400K+ at Goldman Sachs. No, I’m more concerned about real effort and value to society.

I’ve recently become aware of a story which isn’t the latest news but I believe is important none the less. Each May, more than 1500 students from approximately 70 countries compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips. The grand prizes, one $75,000 and two $50,000 college scholarships. Awards & prizes amount to over $4,000,000. It’s owned and administered by the Society for Science & the Public a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

The structure of the competition is as follows:

Sunday: Arrival, project setup, fixing Display and Safety violations, and pin exchange
Monday: Continual arrival and setup, opening ceremony
Tuesday: Final project clearance
Wednesday: Awards judging over 3 sessions, with both scheduled and unscheduled interviews
Thursday: Public visitation day, special awards ceremony
Friday: Grand awards ceremony, project tear-down

One of those awards was to Jack Andraka in 2012. After a close family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, it motivated him to conduct research on early cancer detection. Using Google & Wikipedia to bring himself up to speed he developed a patent-pending noninvasive and inexpensive cancer-screening method using diabetic test paper. Jack created a simple dip-stick sensor to test blood or urine to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. The results show more than 90 percent accuracy with his patent-pending sensor. Added benefits are that it’s 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive with 400 times greater sensitivity than current tests.

Not to stand on his laurels, Jack has assembled a team of teenagers from across the country and entered the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition to be judged and decided by the end of 2015. The goal of the Tricorder X PRIZE competition is to create a device the size of a smart phone that will make reliable health diagnoses, similar to the device used by doctors on Star Trek, anytime, anywhere. This hasn’t been the first time gadgets from Star Trek have influenced designers and engineers.

One of the things his mom said about him impresses me as being important and significant toward his advancing medical device technology, “Jack isn’t afraid of failure”.

happy happy halloween

Don’t eat candy until your eyes glow!

World Clock by Poodwaddle.com

More news on this day…

  • 475 – Romulus Augustulus took the throne as the last ruling emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 1822 – Emperor Agustín de Iturbide (pictured) of the First Mexican Empire dissolved the Mexican Congress and replaced it with a military junta answerable only to him.
  • The Marmaray rail tunnel under the Bosphorus opens, connecting the European and Asian parts of Turkey.
  • Astronomers confirm that z8_GND_5296, the most distant galaxy ever found, is 30 billion light-years from Earth.