Three remarkable teenagers have scooped top awards in this year’s National Science and Engineering Competition.
Twin sisters Ameeta and Aneeta Kumar won the UK Young Scientists of the Year title after astounding the judges with their project to develop an early diagnostic tool for cancer.
Nobel Prize winning biologist Sir Tim Hunt, who was on the judging panel, said the pair had “done an amazing job”, adding that “their grasp of what they were doing and the ease of their understanding of such a complex project was truly impressive”.
The 18-year-olds, who are both students at The Abbey School in Reading, plan to study medicine at university. In the meantime, a team from the University of Oxford will develop their project.
“We’ll be studying medicine so I think we’ll have a huge workload as it is, but we’d love to think about continuing our project or trying something new,” Ameeta explained.
Nineteen-year-old Rebecca Simpson was named as the UK Young Engineer of the Year after designing a retro arcade machine to help GCSE students revise STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
She built the six-foot tall machine from scratch as part of her Extended Project qualification and wrote the code herself.
“I’d like to embed the open source flash games on a website, so schools can build their own arcade machine,” said Rebecca, who attended Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, and is now studying electronics and communication at Imperial College.
The Gadget Show presenter, Jason Bradbury, who was one of the category judges, was bowled over by Rebecca’s idea.
“The notion of putting an arcade machine into schools, something that they have built themselves and is in every sense an open resource but with gaming content based purely around STEM subjects, is just brilliant,” he said.
The three girls were presented with their prizes – £2,000, a trophy, a framed certificate and an experience prize – at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham earlier this month.
For more information on the competition, visit www.nsecuk.org
CAPTION: STEM success: Twin sisters Ameeta and Aneeta Kumar (top) and Rebecca Simpson (above), winners in this year’s National Science and Engineering Competition