Proving kids are awesome. She was just named “America’s Next Top Scientist.”
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which revealed the city’s drinking water contained dangerous amounts of lead, has caused many people to be concerned about the quality of tap water across the country. One of those people is 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao from Lone Tree, Colorado.
The difference between this seventh grader and most others, however, is that she decided to do something about it.
Rao is this year’s winner of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, and her winning idea is called the Tethys—a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques. (Fun fact: Tethys is the Greek goddess for water.)
Currently, people who want to test their water for lead contamination can either use lead-testing strips, which aren’t highly accurate, or send water to the EPA for testing, which is time consuming and requires expensive equipment. When Rao witnessed her parents testing their own water for lead with strips, she decided there had to be a better solution, according to Business Insider.
Rao’s device, which she developed with scientist mentors from 3M for three months this summer, uses carbon nanotubes tuned specifically to detect lead, and can be paired with a mobile app that displays the water’s results. Now that she’s won and received $25,000 in prize money for her invention, Rao hopes to further […]