So what were you doing when you were 15 years old?
Well, Jack Andraka, a high school freshman from Maryland just won first prize in a science fair. An international science fair. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) – “the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, (which) provides an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from about 70 countries, regions, and territories.”
So, pretty impressive so far, yes? More than most of us have ever done. But what did he win first prize for? Oh, you know, just a procedure that could make testing for such things as pancreatic cancer as simple as using a diabetic-style test strip – with (according to the ISEF site) 90 percent accuracy and over 100 times more sensitivity, while being 28 times less expensive than current tests.
You can read more details at the ISEF site and this Forbes article (complete with this video of his very age-appropriate reaction to the win).
Meanwhile, if you feel a natural twinge of resentment that this young whippersnapper is showing off at an age when most of us were occupied with …baser… pursuits, remember this – you may not know it till years from now, but this 15-year old may have just saved your life.