At the fifth annual White House Science Fair on March 23, 2015, some 30 students shared their hard work on their research projects and collected insights. It was striking how many of these young people were trying to address problems that we adults had either created or left unsolved ourselves. I saw projects for the detection of cancer and other diseases, ways to save or produce energy, and innovations intended to manage our increasingly digital world. What stood out, above all, was the passion and commitment the young researchers all demonstrated.

Harry Paul of Port Washington, N.Y., himself born with congenital scoliosis, developed an implant that "grows" with the child, extending the time between invasive operations. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
Model of a spine, using some 3-D-printed parts, demonstrates how implant designed by Harry Paul could "grow" with the child. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
Inspired by his grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer's, Kenneth Shinozuka, 16, of New York City, invented an alarm to warn caregivers when a patient has started to wander. He also won the 2014 Scientific American Science in Action award, and was a finalist at the Google Science Fair, for his work. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
Wearable breathalyzer by Jonathan Hernandez, 17, and Fanta Sinayoko, 17, of Lancaster, Calif., encourages safe drinking. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
The system developed by Ruchi Pandya, 18, of San Jose, Calif., uses just one drop of blood to test for cardiac markers. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
The computer program developed by Trisha Prabhu, 14, of Naperville, Ill., helps students "Rethink" their behavior toward others. Credit: Mariette DiChristina
At the fifth annual White House Science Fair, President Obama visited with each student or team before making formal remarks. Credit: Mariette DiChristina