Deepika Kurup, a freshman at Nashua High School South, has won first prize of $25,000 in the 14th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for a method of purifying water with solar power.
Kurup’s invention uses two chemicals – titanium oxide and zinc oxide – which, when hit by sunlight, undergo a chemical change producing hydroxyl radicals that can attack and destroy certain types of bacteria.
She tested them in various translucent containers heating by parabolic reflectors and found that they reduced populations of various bacteria by large amounts.
Kurup competed alongside nine finalists Tuesday in a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn.
She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” $25,000 and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures.
In addition to presenting their prototypes, the 10 finalists competed in two additional challenges in which they were asked to combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions and build a machine designed to turn on a light bulb using science and engineering principles.
Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology
For details, visit www.newsinfusion.com/events/youngscientist2012.