A 14-year-old prodigy, Heman Bekele, hailing from Annandale, Virginia, has been bestowed with the coveted title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” This prestigious accolade was granted to him by 3M and Discovery Education, renowned for hosting one of the country’s premier middle school science competitions.
Heman’s journey to this honor was driven by his ingenious invention—a soap with the potential to treat skin cancer, particularly melanoma. His innovation, developed over four months of dedicated work, clinched the top spot among ten finalists in the competition.
The objective of this event is to empower students in grades five to eight to devise groundbreaking ideas that could reshape their world.
The young scientist’s commitment to making a positive impact on the world is evident in his invention. With a cost of just around $0.50 to produce, Heman’s compound-based soap offers a promising solution for melanoma treatment.
His vision extends beyond recognition and prizes, as he aims to refine his innovation and establish a nonprofit organization within the next five years. This organization’s mission will be to provide these soap-based treatments to underserved communities in need.
Apart from the distinguished title, Heman Bekele was awarded a substantial cash prize of $25,000, a testament to the caliber of his groundbreaking invention.
Additionally, the competition recognized other outstanding young talents. Shripriya Kalbhavi, a ninth-grader from San Jose, California, secured second place with her innovative and cost-effective patch that facilitates self-automated medication delivery, eliminating the need for pills or needles.
Sarah Wang, a seventh-grader from Andover, Massachusetts, earned third place for her creation—a glove capable of detecting specific epileptic seizures through common hand movements.
Acknowledging the efforts of the remaining finalists, the fourth to tenth-place students were rewarded with a $1,000 prize and a $500 gift card. These budding scientists hail from various regions across the United States, including Portland, Oregon, Baltimore, New Rochelle, New York, Austin, Texas, and Oviedo, Florida.
Heman Bekele’s remarkable accomplishment highlights the potential of young minds to drive innovation and address real-world issues.
It serves as an inspiration for the next generation of scientists and inventors to tackle complex problems with creativity and dedication, with the ultimate goal of making a positive impact on society.
Cases of skin cancer are surging on a global scale. The increased exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, changing lifestyles, and a lack of proper sun protection are contributing factors.
Skin cancer, including melanoma, is one of the most common cancer types worldwide. Many countries are witnessing rising incidence rates, particularly among younger individuals. Public health campaigns emphasize the importance of sunscreens, protective clothing, and regular skin check-ups.
Early detection remains crucial, as it significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. Efforts to raise awareness and promote sun-safe practices are essential in curbing this concerning trend.