6 Ways That Teen Scientists Are Changing Our World

Considering the research presented by whip-smart high school seniors at the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search, we'd say our future looks brighter.

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Prevent the spread of E. coli.

Prevent the spread of E. coli.iStock/Thinkstock
How can we help decrease carbon emissions, boost agricultural yields, and prevent E. coli from spreading? Anne Merrill, 17, of Old Greenwich, Connecticut, intends to find out, by studying the effects of integrating topsoil with biochar, a material gleaned from burning organic biomass.

Increase precision in breast cancer treatment.

Increase precision in breast cancer treatment.iStock/Thinkstock
Many breast cancer patients undergo painful chemotherapy in hopes that it will prevent the cancer cells from spreading, but the treatment isn’t always effective. Natalie Ng, 18, of Cupertino, California, has developed a diagnostic tool that could more accurately predict the cells’ spread to other areas of the body. 

Filter arsenic from drinking water.

Filter arsenic from drinking water.iStock/Thinkstock
When Thabit Pulak, 18, of Richardson, Texas, saw firsthand the effects of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh’s water, he fashioned an inexpensive filter with materials he found around the house—rust, vinegar, and homemade soap. Using those ingredients, Pulak also created paper test strips that can test for arsenic content in contaminated drinking water.

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Slow the damages of Alzheimer’s.

Slow the damages of Alzheimer’s.iStock/Thinkstock
Inspired by her grandfather’s dementia, 18-year-old Lisa P. Michaels from Plano, Texas crossbred fruit flies to show how increased levels of the antioxidant glutathione could slow neuron damage related to Alzheimer’s disease. Michaels, who began her research in 8th grade, has a patent pending for her new fly strain.

Predict cancer patients’ responses to treatment.

Predict cancer patients’ responses to treatment.iStock/Thinkstock
Ivan Spassimirov Paskov, 18, of Scarsdale, New York, began his research in fifth grade after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Paskov used genomic databases and high-performance computer technology to predict drug effectiveness based on the genetic makeup of different cancers, which could pave the way for treatments custom-made for the genetic profile of a tumor.

Rethink electronic screens before sleep.

Rethink electronic screens before sleep.Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Zarin Ibnat Rahman, 17, of Brookings, South Dakota, is on a mission to make adolescents’ excessive exposure to screens a public health concern. After noticing she slept worse and was less alert after nighttime computer use, Rahman observed normal and sleep-deprived subjects and found that prolonged exposure to screens caused heightened stress, daytime fatigue, and diminished cognition.

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Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

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I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

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“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

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A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

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Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

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Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

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My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

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“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

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Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

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