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May 22, 2009

Teen Superheroes

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

At Teen Ink, we know teenagers are capable of anything. Great writing, fantastic artwork, science and math innovations--in fact, teenagers just might save the world. Don't believe me? Well, read on, thou doubting subscriber.

-Canadian 16-year-old Daniel Burd has discovered a way to decompose plastic--a material that naturally stays in the environment for millennia--in just three months. Wired broke the story: Daniel mixed ground plastic with dirt and yeast for a national science fair, figuring that something in nature must decompose plastic, and bacteria was the most likely answer. He won the science fair, and may have solved a major environmental problem in the process. Not exactly your average vinegar and baking soda volcano.

-18-year-old Johnny Fells has already earned international fame as a cancer researcher, as well as thousands of dollars in science fair prize money. Johnny discovered an extract from a Chinese herb that inhibits the growth of brain tumors, and that's just one of the many innovative projects he's already completed--just in time to graduate from high school.

-Juliet Girard and her partner Roshan Prabhu recently won the very prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology for their research into a method of gene-mapping in rice that could help put a stop to world hunger. Their research helped identify and breed the most productive rice possible, meaning a more abundant crop that could be vital in areas almost or entirely dependant on that one grain.

Do you think you're the next teen science superhero? There are lots of venues available for you to get your research out there. Of course you can always write about your experiences and send them to us at Teen Ink! But if you're looking for a science fair or competition, ask a teacher or go online. Programs such as Intel ISEF are out there specifically to encourage and promote the work of young scientists--like you! There are problems out there in the world today, but we know you're on it, Superteen.

Remember to check out FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and Bebo to learn about this month's contest, or e-mail betsy@teenink.com.

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