Nathan Han :- The most recent whizkid of our generation, Nathan Han, a student of the Boston Latin School, proved his intellectual mettle by placing first at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in May 2014. He used publicly available databases on gene research to examine the characteristics of the various mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene to create his software. Using the data this software was “taught” how to differentiate between different gene mutations in order to spot the ones that cause cancer. His inventive approach to mixing biology, software and statistical analysis has presented scientists with a whole new way of fighting cancer. Nathan looks just like any 9th grader, but has already made his mark on the world. He’s shown that with imagination, support and determination even the most amazing discoveries can be achieved from just a teenager’s laptop.
Sara Volz :- Sara Volz was just 17 years old when she won the Intel Science Talent Search in 2013. Humorously known as an algae enthusiast, she cultivated an algae experiment under her bed. At the time she was a student of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where she was just about to graduate when her project won her the Talent Search and a $100,000 prize that she used to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The young researcher has gone on to advocate for the cause of algae based biofuels as a replacement for fossil fuels by speaking at major event including giving a TED Talk. Her biggest impact is expected in her work towards developing ways to make algae-based biofuel more cost effective and efficiently produced by using “artificial selection” techniques to grow algae. Her commitment to the field has already shown potential to radically change the world and she’s only getting started.
Ari Dyckovsky :- Ari Dyckovsky began solving complex mathematical problems at age 4 and by 18 was dabbling in the field of quantum physics at the Loudoun Academy of Science. At 18 he published a paper in the “Physics Review A” that shattered the ceiling on research being done towards the creation of quantum computers and quantum entanglement. He intends to create an instantaneous data transfer technology which would solve the problems of speed and security. He dropped out of Stanford to start a company called Arktos. He’s taking on giants such as Microsoft by creating cutting edge data visualisation programs. Dyckovsky’s innovations have already altered the expanse of science and technology.
Angela Zhang :- As a 15 year old student in the 9th grade Angela Zhang began taking an interest in bioengineering – by the time she was in 11th grade she had won USD 100,000 at the National Siemens Science Contest for her science project on developing a cure for cancer. With access to research laboratories in Stanford, she spent nearly a thousand hours of research before successfully creating a nanoparticle that is capable of attacking cancer cells and also providing diagnostic information. She even figured out how to combine cancer medication within a polymer attached to these nanoparticles. Early testing has proven successful in rats, and in a few years she could be credited with curing cancer!
Taylor Wilson :- As a 16 year old, Taylor Wilson won a host of prizes at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with his project titled “Fission Vision: The Detection of Prompt and Delayed Induced Fission Gamma, Radiation, and the Application to the Detection of Proliferated Nuclear Materials” (that’s a radiation detector to us common folk). The US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Energy offered him funding to build a low-cost Cherenkov radiation detector for border security and anti-terrorist threats. Wilson then went on to become a bona fide nuclear physicist at just 18!He’s working on a low-cost waste fueled nuclear reactor his main priority.
Ionut Budisteanu :- Ionut Budisteanu is a Romanian high school student who invented a self driving car. He won a $75,000 scholarship and had many more wins around the world. He used artificial intelligence programming to make a car that is far less expensive than those being developed at Google. His design costs a mere $4,000 (`2,40,000) whereas other designs that perform similarly cost upwards of $75,000. By using five laptops – four for real time data collection and the fifth for artificial intelligence based decision making – Budisteanu was able to create a program that could take data from low-res 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) in the form of traffic movements, roads, pedestrians, obstacles and other factors to safely and quickly navigate a car. He is also in the process of creating a revolutionary mobile app that will allow blind people to walk about with ease.
Brittany Wenger :- As an 11th grade student Wenger took her interest in computer programming and applied it to cancer, and wrote an algorithm that has 99+ percent cancer detection rates! Her research project was titled “Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer” and won grand prize in 2012 at the Google Science Fair. By 2013 she had advanced her neural cloud network program to include leukemia detection and won multiple awards including Intel’s Science Talent Search. Her program is designed to use aggregated data from biopsies all over the world to learn how to detect malignant tumours and cancers in the human body. The Cloud4Cancer service, as it is now known, is globally available for free. This means millions of patients across the globe will have less painful and invasive surgical tests, and be diagnosed earlier. Her work will save millions!
Kelvin Doe :- Kelvin Doe is a self taught engineer and inventor from the war ravaged nation of Sierra Leone who used his natural talents to improve the lives of the people in his community. By 11 he was sifting through garbage heaps looking for electronic components that he could use in his social inventions. At 13 he was able to build a fully functional battery by using discarded materials in a tin cup wrapped with scotch tape saving his community large sums on battery costs. Next he built a generator using scrap and trash. At 15 he became famous thanks to a YouTube video, and was invited to become the youngest “visiting practitioner” at MIT. He has gone on to lecture students at MIT, Harvard and other universities as well as been a speaker at TED. Apart from his technological work, Doe is also famously known as his on-air avatar DJ Focus spinning records on a pirate radio station he started with his friends in Sierra Leone. That’s one cool 15 year old.
Alex Godin :- Cementing his reputation as more than just the son of marketing guru Seth Godin, the 19 year old has accomplished more in his final years of high school than most teens do in their whole career. As one of the youngest persons ever to be accepted into the highly exclusive TechStars program at the age of just 17, Godin has made waves in the startup tech industry across the world. The technology whiz kid had a highly successful startup known as Dispatch right out of high school and went on to raise more than USD 1 million in initial seed funding. The company broke right into the enterprise market with its program during the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Originally titled Dispatch.io it began as a Chrome browser extension that converged the services between different cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Docs. The extension went on to become an enterprise service and was acquired by Meetup. Before he dove into building his own tech startup Godin was already doing interesting things such as running a DJ business, producing documentaries, teaching himself how to code, taking on an internship and planning for college. He’s put off college for later.
Jack Andraka :- Jack Andraka made major breakthroughs in detecting deadly pancreatic cancer at just 15 years old! He devised a test that is 90+ percent accurate in detecting pancreatic cancer, but at a fraction of the cost of existing methods. He used a paper sensor to detect the presence of mesothelin (a cancer indicator) in the blood of patients. Cost? 3 cents! He won first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2012. He’s using the money to go to college and make some serious changes to our world.
Luis Fernando Cruz :- This 19 year old student of electrical engineering invented the Eyeboard, which is an eye-controlled software that allows disabled people to use technology at a cost lower than that of an iPhone. By 14 Cruz started learning programming and the basics of digital electronics. By 16 he became the first video game system developer in Honduras. He shifted his focus from business to social entrepreneurship and by 19 had made the Eyeboard. It tracks eyeball movements of disabled people to form words on a screen as well as operate a computer device. His goal is to make this device available to all those who need it around the world. He wants disabled people to communicate and live in the world with dignity and respect.
Chiman Prakash Reddy :- Sometimes reinvention is the greatest sign of genius and that seems to be the case for Chiman Prakash Reddy from India. This 16-year old from Hyderabad has no formal education, but has demonstrated amazing skills in chess and electronics. He’s the youngest ever creator of a PC tablet in the world – he made is responsible for the invention of the AVE 7-inch tablet which garnered the interest of mobile services giant Reliance Communications in India on its release in 2011. The teen inventor has even incorporated his innovations in a business venture based out of the UK called Sareddy Technologies where the Chinese built components are assembled. Truly a global entrepreneur and inventor.
Nick D’Aloisio :- One of the youngest employees of Yahoo, Nick made his millions before the age of 17. The programming prodigy is younger than Yahoo, but ended up getting $30 million from them when he sold them his remarkable app called Summly. D’Aloisio created the news-reading app from an algorithmic system that he devised which allowed users to read long form stories in a brisk and convenient way on their mobile devices. After Yahoo! bought his app, he was offered a position at the company. He’s still devoted to finishing high school and works part time. This boy wonder, millionaire is only just getting started, and is using his money to research new ideas while he gets a degree in Philosophy from Oxford.