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This kid can stay on my lawn
Old 05-21-2012, 06:55 PM   #1
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This kid can stay on my lawn

I saw this article today. Pretty mindblowing. Fifteen-Year-Old Creates Non-Invasive Pancreatic Cancer Detection Tool

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Jack Andraka, 15, of Crownsville, Md. was awarded first place for his new method to detect pancreatic cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Based on diabetic test paper, Jack created a simple dip-stick sensor to test blood or urine to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. His study resulted in over 90 percent accuracy and showed his patent-pending sensor to be 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests. Jack received the Gordon E. Moore Award, named in honor of Intel co-founder and retired chairman and CEO of $75,000.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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That is just awesome.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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That's amazing, I hope he goes on to do many more good things.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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And I'm sure he had a lot of help, but I did not research it. This work was not done in his high school or garage.

Good stuff any way you look at it.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #5
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That's amazing.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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And I'm sure he had a lot of help, but I did not research it. This work was not done in his high school or garage.
I suspect you're right. Probably Intel has some sort of agreement with various labs or research facilities to allow the kids to use serious equipment. Just getting access to blood of pancreatic cancer patients for testing would be beyond my old science fair project capabilities. They wouldn't even give me a few ounces of plutonium, so I had to test how mice react to being raised in the dark instead.

Interestingly, one of the kids to get the next level prize ($50K) was working on quantum teleportation. I read a little about it, but it didn't sound like the "Beam me up, Scotty" system I was hoping for.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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Pancreatic cancer tests, quantum teleportation. What schools do these kids go to? It does sound like they must have access to high end research facilities but I wonder how that works. Do the kids qualify for the high end access by winning normal science fairs using only the facilities available at home and school?
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:43 PM   #8
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Definitely gives us mature folks hope that things will be better, not worse, for the next generation.

We do, however, need to help educate those young folks who won't discover the cure for cancer but who will build the buildings, install the equipment, and make sure the toilets flush in the labs where the work will be done. The educational gap between the "haves" and "have nots" is at least as scary as the economic gaps.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:11 PM   #9
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Cool story!
I also just came across this, which I thought was quite interesting--the idea of a scholarship to quit school for a year.
Thiel Fellowship
The Thiel Fellowship is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. The Fellowship brings together some of the world’s most creative and motivated young people, and helps them bring their most ambitious ideas and projects to life. Thiel Fellows are given a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education. They are mentored by our network of visionary thinkers, investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs, who provide guidance and business connections that can’t be replicated in any classroom. Rather than just studying, you’re doing.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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We bemoan the state of Oregon's education funding, and the winners of Intel's competition doubtless are at least 10 years along in their studies, but 3 of the 17 Best of Category winners are from Portland Metro. I am stunned!
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:53 PM   #11
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It is all part of a trend called the lab on a chip that is going great guns in the developing world, where they can not afford the expensive and intensive health care in the US. The idea is soon one drop of blood like that from a diabetes test can test for a whole number of things.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:24 PM   #12
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It's been my experience that one of the big companies, HP for example, will buy the patent rights and promptly table the thing so that they can continue to overcharge for the screening medical equipment they currently market.
This happened to a company I worked at. We developed a biomedical ultrasound scanner with an acoustically invisible plastic that was revolutionary and would cut the cost of scanners in half. We began building an assembly plant when HP bought the patent rights and I was laid off. The only people to make any money on the deal were the venture capitalists who funded our research and development and a couple of the scientists who were 'paid' in patent rights in lieu of larger paychecks.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #13
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It's been my experience that one of the big companies, HP for example, will buy the patent rights and promptly table the thing so that they can continue to overcharge for the screening medical equipment they currently market.
This happened to a company I worked at. We developed a biomedical ultrasound scanner with an acoustically invisible plastic that was revolutionary and would cut the cost of scanners in half. We began building an assembly plant when HP bought the patent rights and I was laid off. The only people to make any money on the deal were the venture capitalists who funded our research and development and a couple of the scientists who were 'paid' in patent rights in lieu of larger paychecks.
Man, you are a buzz kill. However, my inner conspiracy theorist can't disagree with you.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Pancreatic cancer tests, quantum teleportation. What schools do these kids go to? It does sound like they must have access to high end research facilities but I wonder how that works. Do the kids qualify for the high end access by winning normal science fairs using only the facilities available at home and school?
Here's how it works usually:

The parents or neighbors of the kids work in top research labs located fairly close to their schools. Maybe their mom is a university professor. For example, I've always had a couple of high school interns in the summer. The kids become part of a project and team working on something interesting. The best kids are just as good as grad students and can do their own thing. They work hard after school and during the summer. The kids are top notch and stay interested in the project, so they do more stuff, are very productive, and get more "credit". They may have entered the project in more than one science fair and have worked on it for a few years. They are mentored by more than one person: The lab head, the grad students, and the post-docs. The projects may have a burn rate per person of $1,000 a month for just the supplies.

This is not normal high school science.
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