Last year, after 15-year-old Katie Vanderwheele read an article about natural arsenic contaminating the drinking water in Bangladesh, she decided that tackling this global problem was a natural fit for a school science project. So she went to Bill Lamb, her science teacher at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland. Gifted students such as Vanderwheele often come to him with ambitious projects – what he calls "Nobel Prize syndrome." In this case, the results of Vanderwheele's research have brought her closer to a Nobel – geographically, at least.

Vanderwheele's project, in which she used water hyacinths to purify arsenic-laced water, earned her $2,500 and the right to represent the US in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. In August, she'll take a break from her job as a summer camp counselor when ITT Industries sends her to Stockholm to compete with students from more than 30 other countries for the international honor....

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?