A 17-year-old California boy has won a premier high school science competition for inventing a device that converts ocean wave energy into electricity.
Aaron Goldin, a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas, Calif., won a $100,000 college scholarship, the top individual prize announced Monday in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Goldin, who created a gyroscope that extracts power from ocean waves, began by developing prototypes using a tape recorder, an answering machine and household appliances as parts.
“He has taken an innovative application of gyroscopic principles and turned it into a reality, demonstrating great independence and originality,” said judge Richard Miles, a professor at Princeton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. "With further development, his concept may be scalable to large off-shore power generation as a replacement for fossil fuel power plants."
The system might even be able to produce hydrogen from water. Automakers and the Bush administration have been promoting a hydrogen economy that runs vehicles and homes on the non-polluting energy source used in fuel cells, but hydrogen is not found on its own and extracting it is still an expensive process.
Team wins for biomarkers
Lucie Guo and Xianlin Li, both 17-year-old seniors at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, shared the $100,000 top prize in the team category. They identified biomarkers that could help earlier detection and treatment of breast cancer.
The Siemens Foundation, founded in 1998, aims to increase access to higher education among gifted students studying math, science and technology. The foundation distributes more than $1 million annually in scholarships, grants and awards.
Eighteen students competed in the national finals — six individuals and six teams. All won scholarships ranging from $50,000 to $10,000. Team members share awards.
Background on the finalists' projects is online at http://www.siemens-foundation.org/2004/finals/default.html.