Kenyan Students in Pittsburg for US$4M Intel ISEF competition


ISEF_Pittsburgh4_2012Four Kenyan Students have left for for Pittsburg Pennsylvania, USA where they will attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and the world’s largest high school science research competition from May 10-15.

The four youngsters, from SCLP Samaj School in Nairobi will be among 1700 other innovators selected from 422 affiliate fairs in more than 75 countries, regions and territories to showcase cutting-edge inventions and compete for approximately US$4 million (over KES 380 million) in awards.

Siddieeq Parpia and Jamaldin Mohammed both aged 15, will present a project “Bio-hydrometallurgy” under the Environmental Engineering category. The project involves extraction of iron from iron pyrite (a low grade ore of iron) using naturally occurring and living microorganisms such as bacteria. Siddieeq and Jamal are seeking to provide an alternative solution to the current mining technologies such as using explosives, cyanide and other chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

“We are hopeful that we will win because we have developed a green solution to mining and we believe this is a critical innovation,” said Siddieeq, the team leader for the group.
Their peers Bulari Varsani and Jaspreet Matharu, also aged 15, will on the other hand be showcasing a medical project “Cationic Peptides” that the two believe is a sure solution to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Bulari and Jaspreet are exploring the use of production to stop the replication of the HIV virus.
“The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair provides brilliant teenagers with a unique opportunity to share cutting-edge ideas, exchange cultural perspectives and build lifelong friendships,” said Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Intel Foundation. “We’re inspired by these young innovators and problem-solvers that are using science and technology to tackle our toughest global challenges and create a brighter future.”
“Uniting students from around the world this year in Pittsburgh, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair provides a unique opportunity for the world’s top young innovators to compete for millions of dollars in awards while sharing their research and visions for the future with their peers,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public. “We look forward with great anticipation to what these students will contribute individually and as a community to make our world a better place.”

The Fair is hosted each year in a different city (Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Phoenix through 2019).