As part of our #CreateYourSummer campaign, we’d love to inspire and remind everyone that age is just a number, and share 10 stories of young people under the age of 25 who have accomplished awesome things in STEM.
1. Sam Houghton
Sam from Derbyshire was named Britain’s youngest inventor when he created his first invention at the age of 3. He created the double-headed broom when he noticed his father taking a long time to sweep the leaves in the garden. Sam thought he could make the process faster by tying two brooms together. The invention called the double broom saved time and effort by allowing users to sweep up big and small bits at the same time. His design was patented and featured in the 2010 British Library exhibition: Inventing the 21st Century.
“The best sort of invention isn’t one that’s very crazy, it’s when it’s simple, it helps, you got the materials, it’s useful, and it makes everyday life easier.”
Image from: BIPCTV
2. Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai
“What if we could clean wastewater with corn cobs?”
On her daily walks in her small Indian village, Lalita started noticing dried corn cobs thrown on the side of the road. She was curious and started investigating by observing nearby farmers who would throw or burn corn cobs. She wanted to find a better way to repurpose the corn cobs because it took a long time for the cobs to biodegrade and burning them caused more air pollution. She began experimenting in 2011 when she was just 11 years old. She realised that corn-cobs could filter out 80% of contaminants, including detergents, oils, and other particles. She designed a corn cob filtration system which won the Scientific American’s Community Impact Award at Google Science Fair 2015.
Image from: Business Insider
3. Kelvin Doe
A young engineer, inventor, and DJ from Sierra Leone. Kelvin Doe’s journey began at age 11 when he noticed scrap metal and discarded electronic parts on his walks home. Kelvin got creative and started to collect the parts to build projects like the music set he used to become a DJ. Kelvin soon expanded into building transmitters, generators, and batteries for his community. He subsequently became the youngest person to participate in MIT’s Visiting Practitioner’s Program. Kelvin is now 23 years old and focusing on his studies in Canada.
“Creativity is universal and can be found in places where one does not expect to find it.”
Image from: Adobe Spark
4. Ava Garside
“I started with a passion and a determination to allow everyone to breathe healthier air on the way to school.”
A 13-year-old schoolgirl from the United Kingdom created a sensor which can detect the healthiest route to work or school. Her project called ‘Perfect Sense’ proposed a dynamic way of mapping air pollution to discover the cleanest air quality route to school or work. Her innovative ways of incorporating artificial intelligence and data won her the Junior Youth Industrial Strategy Competition 2020.
Image from: British Science Association
5. Rishab Jain
“Guided by my curiosity in science, I investigated if I could use my knowledge in programming and A.I to make a difference.”
During a family visit to Chicago in 2017, Rishab was shocked to find out that pancreatic cancer patients had a very low rate of survival. After intensive research, he realised it was due to the pancreas moving around and sometimes becoming obscured by other organs. He was inspired to use his passion for artificial intelligence (A.I) to help improve patient survival rates with a tool to help locate the organ. At age 15, Rishab has created two A.I tools for medical use. The first is the Pancreatic Cancer Deep Learning System (PCDLS) to improve a treatment called radiotherapy. The second is the Pancreas Detective which predicts genetic mutations which allow precision-based treatments to be administered. He continues to inspire young people everywhere through his organisation Samyak Science Society which aims to inspire and motivate kids to explore STEM fields.
Image from: Tech Insider
6. Elif Bilgin
Saving the environment from further damage is a big task. Elif Bilgin from Turkey decided to take on the challenge. At the age of 16, Elif wanted to find a way to reduce traditional petroleum-based plastic and got inspired by bananas. After 2 years of research and several failed attempts, she created a process of turning banana peels into bioplastic! Her hard work won her the 2013 Science in Action Award. Now at age 23, she is a Software Engineer at Google.
“I don’t think it is your age that determines the potential that you have, it is the unlimited imagination that you have that gives you the unlimited potential to create.”
Image from: Elif Bilgin
7. Easton LaChappelle
“This is something that started from boredom to something that could change people’s lives.”
Once referred to as the “next Elon Musk”, Easton began his journey in his bedroom in the United States when he built a robotic hand out of Legos and fishing wire. The prototype earned him third place at the Colorado State Science Fair 2011 where he met a girl who had an expensive prosthetic arm with limited use. That encounter inspired Easton to make prosthetics cheaper and more functional for users. At age 25, he is now creating the future of prosthetics as the CEO and Founder of Unlimited Tomorrow, Inc.
Image from: Microsoft
8. Ann Makosinski
“I’ve learned that we should not be scared of how crazy our ideas seem.”
Ann is an inspiring young lady who uses her skills and ideas to help other young people. At the age of 16, the young Canadian invented the Hollow Flashlight, a flashlight that is powered only by body heat. The idea was inspired by visits to her mother’s homeland in the Philippines, where she met a friend who did not have access to electricity or light in order study after sundown. Now at age 22, Ann continues to innovate and is working on a range of toys to teach kids about renewable energy.
Image from: Engineering.com
9. Raymond Wang
When Raymond learned how air pumped around an aeroplane cabin enables pathogens to easily spread from passenger to passenger, he wanted to find a better solution. Using computer simulations to show how germs move around an aircraft, the young Canadian invented a cheap way to stop airborne pathogens from spreading on aeroplanes. At the age of 17, his invention called the Global Inlet Director won the 2015 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.
“Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest solutions.”
Image from: Daily Mail
10. Anushka Naiknaware
Anushka was studying human anatomy for a competition when she came across the topic of chronic wounds. She was fascinated to find out that changing the dressing of a wound too often or not often enough delays the healing process and increases the risk of infection. She wanted to find a way to help patients and doctors improve healing. With just a few resources, Anushka designed the Carbon Nanoparticle Based Biocompatible Sensor, a sensor that tracks wound healing and sends alerts to patients and doctors. Anushka became the youngest person to win the Google Science Fair Award in 2016 and was honoured 21 Under 21 at Teen Vogue Summit 2017.
“Even though I am a 14-year-old working in her garage on something she doesn’t completely understand, I can still make a difference and contribute to the field.”
Image from: OPB.org
Fire Tech encourages exploration and discovery through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects. We are not about lectures or exams, we help you build skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and innovation. These skills can be applied in all areas of life. The concepts you learn through STEM can also help you understand the world around you and how you could influence it. We believe young people have the best ideas, and we are here to help you build them.
About the writer:
Rose graduated with BA (Hons) in Media and Communication from Oxford Brookes University and MSc Innovation from the University of Bristol. She has been facilitating fun learning experiences for young people for about 7 years. Currently, she teaches Junior Coder and Video Game Design at Fire Tech. Connect with her here.