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11-Year-Old Science Prodigy Develops Water Detecting Device for Lead

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Sometimes great ideas come from unexpected places, like when 11-year-old science prodigy Gitanjali Rao from Lone Tree, Colorado developed a game-changing tracking device. The seventh grader from STEM School and Academy created an innovative tracking device which can determine the level of lead contaminants in water.

science prodigy

Inside Edition

This great invention will simplify the current technique of detecting harmful chemicals in a water system, which is expensive and time consuming. For this invention, the young genius was hailed “America’s Top Young Scientist” during the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

The annual challenge for middle school students was held this year in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the competitors vied for the grand prize of $25,000. The science prodigy bagged the award and the low-cost invention has been making rounds on the Internet.

science prodigy

Andy King/Discovery Education

In a story by Inside Edition, the young genius said: “I like finding solutions to real problems.” The lead detecting device called “Tethys,” after the Greek myth’s fresh water goddess, uses a portable and disposable cartridge linked to a mobile app. Results are displayed on the screen instantly, making it a much more convenient process than the traditional method because it doesn’t have to be sent and analyzed in laboratories.

The inspiration behind Rao’s ingenious device came from the water crisis that affected Flint, Michigan two years ago. The seventh grader’s invention was borne out of her readings on nanotechnology on the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s website.

The science prodigy said: “Clean water always makes you feel good. The tool allows easy testing at home or agencies for quick detection and remedial action. It can be expanded in the future to test for other chemical contaminants in potable water. I hope this helps in a small way to detect and prevent long-term effects for lead contamination for many of us.”

science prodigy

ABC News

The young student worked at home for three months on her invention with her professors as well as a few engineers.

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