Some of the brightest minds in the world also happen to be some of the youngest ones. You may know the incredible work of Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, but these aren’t the only young scientists making an impact.
Scientists aren’t always confined to laboratories and test tube experiments. They encompass fields like technology, engineering, and math – they’re experts in STEM. Moreover, young people in STEM can bring the most innovation to both people and the planet. In fact, a recent study found that biomedical students hit their creative peak early on in their careers.
Whether designing solutions to lower global carbon emissions, researching life-saving medicines, or helping shape the cities of the future, these are the young scientists making positive changes in 2023.
Young Scientists Journal
First, where does the work of young scientists get published? How are they showcasing their talent and ensuring the maximum reach for the work they do? Well, just like more experienced scientists, young scientists share their studies in journals that are available online.
Young Scientists Journal is one of the most popular and internationally renowned journals. The publication is peer-reviewed, meaning that editors and other scientists assess the accuracy and quality of articles. Young Scientists Journal is specifically for students aged 12 to 20, and in the past 10 years, has published young scientists from more than 50 countries. Print versions of the journal are also released twice annually and include original research, interviews, and reports.
Journal of Emerging Investigators is another academic space where young scientists upload their research. Middle and high-school-aged scientists can propose papers based on science fair projects, class projects, or personal interests, and have to follow writing guidelines to be considered for publication.
Young Scientists Awards
Like more established scientists, young scientists also receive recognition for their work. Outlined below are a few popular awards for student scientists.
Rising Scientist Award
Every year the Rising Scientist Award gifts five high school students college scholarships. Winners of this award demonstrate promise in research areas related to mental health. This includes neuroscience, biomedical engineering, and psychology. To qualify, students must show strong academic performance in science courses, participate in related extracurricular activities, and conduct research in one of the three areas of focus.
Since 2010, middle school students have competed in the areas of math, applied science, technology, and engineering to win the Broadcom MASTERS competition. In order to attend, students must first participate in a society-affiliated science fair. The top 10% of these students go to compete for over $100,000 worth of prizes at Broadcom MASTERS.
Regeneron Young Scientists Awards
Regeneron Young Scientists Awards presents up to $75,000 to two scientists who create solutions for the problems of tomorrow. Every year, nearly 2,000 students from the ninth up to the twelfth grade compete to win the prize, which can include a trip to a European city. Past winners were highlighted for their work in 3D-printed AI robots, as well as novel approaches to superconductivity.
Famous Young Scientists
Below are just a small sample of young scientists who have done, and continue to do, wonderful things in the world.
A young scientist from Florida, Samarth won the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work that personalizes music therapy treatment for mental health. Her project, called SparkCare+, leverages technology like AI, skin response, and photoplethysmography, and uses deep neural networks to select therapeutic music for patients.
Viktor Stilianov Kolev
A 2020 winner at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, Viktor introduced the Neural Abstract Reasoner, a memory-augmented architecture capable of learning and applying abstract rules. The human-centric AI system design archives 61.13% accuracy and is crucial to achieving data efficiency.
Elif won the 2013 Google Science Fair for investigations around making plastic from banana skins. She invented a method to form bioplastic using banana peels instead of petroleum-based plastic. Following her award, she double majored in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science at John Hopkins University and has worked at Oracle and Virgin Galactic – where she was an Intern Astronaut Trainer.
Kenneth’s impressive work has focused on improving safety for Alzheimer’s patients. He developed the SafeWander Sock Sensor, which sends an alert to medical professionals and relatives if patients wander off by themselves or experience a fall. The sensor is now available to buy online and is used by thousands of caregivers across the globe.
Natalia is a young scientist in food chemistry, where her research has developed eco-friendly methods to produce natural extracts that make cosmetic products. Her postdoctoral work honed in on greener, more efficient extraction processes from red seaweed. She has been awarded the HP Kaufmann Award, as well as a three-year fellowship from the REinforcing Women in Research Programme.
With distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), Zhongwen Zhan is establishing early warning systems for earthquakes by looking at forces that control the slow slide of glaciers, and studying seismic signals from other phenomena. He is currently a Professor of Geophysics at the California Institute of Technology.Ready to lay the foundation for your own young scientist journey? Check out Sphero’s STEM education tools. We’ll see you on the list of ‘Young Scientists to Watch’ very soon!