Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Super Science Girls

So, my two heroes for this week is Sara Volz of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado and Sylvia Todd of Auburn California.

Sara Volz just won the Intel Science Talent Search and pocketed $100K for her project entitled Nitrogen Stress and Artifical Selection as Methods to Induce Lipid Synthesis.

For those of you who don't speak "Science Nerd", what this means is that this clever girl was able to selectively breed alge to increase their production of oil (Lipids).  The way she did this was to use nitrogen (In the form of the weed killer sethoxydim) to stress her alge cultures, which forced a sort of artifical "Survival of the Fittest" type of evolution in the alge.  Kind of like the way an antibiotic kills bacteria cells.  Then she was basically trying to breed alge that was resistant to the weed killer in much the same way bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. The alge cells that were able to survive the Nitrogen stress, also produced more oil.  So basically she bred alge that is designed specifically to produce oil for biofuels.

So, she designed an build the bioreactor when she was in 9th grade (OMG like wow!).

Sylva Todd is the host of the YouTube channel Sylvia's Super Awesome Maker Show.  In this show she uses everything from Chemistry to Electronics to  make really cool stuff. Oh, and did I mention she is only 11 years old.

She uses the plethora of stuff that is available these days to make really amazing stuff, like the Arduino board that I talked about several months back.  She makes things like Silly Putty, Digital Clocks, and even her own printed Circuit boards

She likes to build robots and recently won a silver medal at the international robotics competition, which also included a trip to the White house to show off her robot that paints pictures.

Keep up the great work ladies.