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Enhancing desalination efficiency, a new language for the deaf and blind, and electricity from tomato juice: Meet the Science in Action finalists, Part 3

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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On June 27, the winner of the second annual $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action Award, powered by the Google Science Fair, will be announced. In this blog series we ask the finalists to describe their projects and themselves.  Meet six innovative students from Saudi Arabia, the United States and Kenya.

Project: Enhancing Desalination Efficiency of Cellulose Acetate Membranes Using Modern Optimizations

Name (Age): Motasim Zawawi (18)

Country: Saudi Arabia

Summary: Thermal treatment and stirring, two modern optimization techniques, were applied to cellulose acetate membranes to test their performance in desalinating seawater.

Motasim Zawawi

How does your project impact the community you grew up in?
Two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer from water scarcity by 2025. The desalination trend is heading toward inexpensive high quality techniques that can lessen the water crisis. Low cost cellulose acetate membranes with a high flux and a high salt rejection will help alleviate the water scarcity by producing large amounts of fresh water in less time with less cost and higher quality.

Who are your scientific inspirations and why?
My scientific inspiration is, with no doubt, the one and only Albert Einstein. The jump he made from a normal introverted child to a genius is fascinating.

Do you have a favorite singer?
Lana Del Rey

Do you have a favorite sports team?
Manchester United Football Club!

Name: Rozan El-Qishawi (13)

Country: United States

Project: The “BLIDEF” Language: A Complete Guide to a Global Standard Deaf and Blind English Alphabet

Summary: Using only one hand, a series of taps and finger positions can create the letters of an alphabet intended to enable blind people to communicate directly with deaf people without an interpreter.

Rozan El-Qishawi

How does your project impact the community you grew up in?
Alabama has one of the largest deaf and blind institutes in the South, yet it has very few interpreters. Year after year, the number of people taking jobs in interpretation is declining. The goal of my project is to create a standard global method of communication between blind and deaf people without the presence of an interpreter.

Who are your scientific inspirations and why?
Watching the Helen Killer movie, I wondered how could a blind person who hears communicate with a deaf person who can see. My first guess was by touching. I visited the AIDB (Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind) and met with Mr. Larsen Turk, the director, who happens to be blind. It was a very inspiring visit. Mr. Turk introduced me to students at my grade level who are blind and deaf.

If you could have dinner with any three scientists throughout time, whom would you choose?
I would like to meet Benjamin Franklin, Sir Alexander Fleming, and Louis Braille.

What is your favorite color?
Pink … Pink…Pink

Name (Age): Himanshi Sehgal (14), Souparni Roy (14), Richa Nagda (14)

Country: Kenya

Project: Can Heat and Tomatoes Produce Electricity

Summary: Sunlight reflected in a mirror and then focused through a lens heats tomato juice in a copper container. This creates steam that drives rotors to produce electricity.

Himanshi Sehgal, Souparni Roy, and Richa Nagda

Who are your scientific inspirations and why?

Our inspirations are Thomas Alva Edison and Albert Einstein. We admire Edison for his kaleidoscopic thinking; he was able to solve and think about problems from various angles. We admire Einstein for his determination. Even though people didn’t believe Einstein’s theories and thought he was insane, he still continued his work. Today, he is considered one of the best.

What do you think was the most revolutionary invention of the past 100 years and why? The past 10 years?
The most revolutionary invention in the past 100 years was the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell. The most revolutionary invention in the past 10 years is Wi-Fi.

What is your favorite food?

Richa likes pastries, Himanshi likes sweetmeats and Souparni likes vegetarian Indiana pizza.

Do you have a favorite band or song?

Our favorite song is 22 by Taylor swift.

 

Rachel Scheer About the Author: Rachel Scheer is the Corporate PR Manager for Nature Publishing Group. She handles the PR efforts for Scientific American including writing press releases, facilitating partnerships and organizing media opportunities for the editorial team.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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