Discovery Education and 3M have named 14-year-old Deepika Kurup from Nashua, N.H., winner of the 2012 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her innovative, cost effective and sustainable water-purification system. Her prototype, which harnesses solar energy to disinfect contaminated water, can help improve the lives of the 1.1 billion people around the world who lack access to clean drinking water. Kurup, a ninth grader at Nashua High School, competed alongside nine other finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of "America's Top Young Scientist," $25,000 and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures.
At the final competition, the finalists shared their completed innovations with a panel of judges, including Danny Forster of SCIENCE's Build it Bigger. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges in which they were asked to: 1) combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) build a machine designed to turn on a light bulb using science and engineering principles. Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology.
The remaining nine finalists also received a variety of prizes from Discovery Education and 3M. The second, third and fourth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures to Costa Rica.
For more information, go to www.youngscientistchallenge.com.