2018 BHP BIL­LI­TON FOUN­DA­TION SCI­ENCE AND EN­GI­NEER­ING AWARDS

The Australian Education Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA DAVIES

THE win­ners of the 2018 BHP Bil­li­ton Foun­da­tion Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing

Awards in­clude an au­ton­o­mous win­dow cleaner, a water fil­ter and fer­til­izer made from agri­cul­tural by-prod­ucts, and bio­plas­tic made from prawn shell and silk­worm silk.

Three Syd­ney-based high school stu­dents were awarded Aus­tralia’s most pres­ti­gious school sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing prize, a part­ner­ship be­tween CSIRO, the BHP Bil­li­ton Foun­da­tion and the Aus­tralian Sci­ence Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (ASTA).

Barker Col­lege stu­dent Oliver Ni­cholls from NSW won the en­gi­neer­ing cat­e­gory, com­bin­ing his knowl­edge of math­e­mat­ics, physics and de­sign to cre­ate an au­ton­o­mous ro­botic win­dow cleaner de­signed to re­duce in­jury and de­crease the costs of win­dow clean­ing.

Win­ner of the In­ves­ti­ga­tions cat­e­gory was Syd­ney Girls High School stu­dent Minh Nga Nguyen, an as­pir­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer who used agri­cul­tural by-prod­ucts such as corn husks, bam­boo scraps and rice waste to cre­ate a biochar prod­uct with the dual ca­pa­bil­ity of fil­ter­ing water and then be­ing used as a fer­til­izer.

Also from Syd­ney Girls High School, In­no­va­tor to Mar­ket cat­e­gory win­ner An­gelina Arora de­vel­oped a bio­plas­tic made from prawn shell and sticky protein from the silk of silk­worms which com­pletely de­grades.

The plas­tic has po­ten­tial to re­place cur­rent plas­tic shop­ping bags and other pack­ag­ing to re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact in land­fill and in the ocean.

CSIRO chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Larry Mar­shall said the award win­ners’ ideas and achieve­ments would in­spire other stu­dents to be­come in­no­va­tors.

“The world is chang­ing faster than many of us can keep up with, but sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths can guide that fu­ture through in­no­va­tion,” Dr Mar­shall said.

Six of this year’s fi­nal­ists will have the op­por­tu­nity to go to In­tel In­ter­na­tional Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing Fair (ISEF) in the US, where over 1800 high school stu­dents from 75 coun­tries, re­gions and ter­ri­to­ries are given the op­por­tu­nity to show­case their re­search.

“The world is chang­ing faster than many of us can keep up with, but sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths can guide that fu­ture through in­no­va­tion.”

Win­ner of the In­ves­ti­ga­tions cat­e­gory, Minh Nga Nguyen.

Win­ner of the In­no­va­tor to Mar­ket award, An­gelina Arora.

En­gi­neer­ing cat­e­gory win­ner, Oliver Ni­cholls.

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