The Intel Science Talent Search is the single most prestigious science competition for high school seniors in the United States. It’s the ultimate science fair championship where young science researchers go head to head with papers spanning chemistry, biology, psychology, physics, computer science, and more (they present their work if chosen to be finalists). But it’s not always when the winner of the Intel Science Talent search creates something that can actually change the world right here and now. Not in ten years. Now. Jack Andraka, this year’s winner, has done just that.
Andraka, at fifteen years old, is by all accounts a prodigy. Just listen to him speak. So what’d he create? He created a sensor that can detect pancreatic cancer, a disease that usually isn’t detected until it’s too late. According to a “Yahoo News” article by Nadine Kalinauskas on the Intel STS winner, “Current pancreatic cancer-detection methods are ‘woefully ineffective,’ leaving most cancers undiagnosed until their final stages. By then, it’s usually too late for treatment. ‘[Andraka’s] novel patent-pending sensor has proved to be 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests,’ the Daily Mail reports. Andraka believes his simple detection test would help patients identify the disease at its earliest stages, before it becomes invasive, and possibly boosting survival rates of the deadly cancer to ‘close to 100 per cent.’
And the 15 year-old was turned down by a ton of professors when he approached them about wanting to work on this in their labs. That makes his remarkable sensor even cooler. What chutzpah he had to approach all of those professors! Shame on them for turning him down. We imagine they regret that decision now. Congratulations to Jack Andraka on winning the Intel Science Talent Search but, way more importantly, on creating a patent-pending sensor to accurately detect pancreatic cancer at a much earlier stage. It’s truly remarkable. This 15 year-old has already changed the world with his enormous contribution to mankind before he even goes to college! Now that’s something. If you’re a high school student interested in science research, may his story inspire you!
Check out video of Andraka here: