What do two bright 16-year-old girls think
of when they imagine outer space? That sending bacteria out there may improve
its ability to fight germs, of course.
Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma from Troy, Mich.,
won the YouTube Space Lab competition
that encouraged kids around the globe to come up with cool science experiments
to be conducted in space. The duo will get to see their idea come to life 250
miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station, and they’ll watch as
their experiment is live-streamed on YouTube, thanks to Lenovo.
The ladies heard about the contest through
the Biology Competition Club at their high school.
“We were just researching the effects
of micro-gravity and space exploration,” Sara explains, “when we came
across an article about a Salmonella experiment. We thought that if bacteria
could be grown to be more dangerous, can't it also be grown to be more helpful?
And presto! Our experiment was born.”
Basically, the pair decided to send
bacteria into space to see if it became more active. They think it will—and if
they’re right, that means that their experiment could help scientists find ways
to reduce the spread of major diseases.
Dorothy and Sara—who both love music, art
and color guard—are passionate about linking science with creativity, which
they say is “essential” to solving problems. Why? Because “science and creativity are both ways
of looking at the world in a new perspective in order to learn or create
something new,” Sara says.
One of the toughest obstacles for young
female scientists to overcome is gender stereotyping. “Some people assume girls
aren't as ambitious, experienced or affirmative as boys,” Sara says. Winning
this international competition felt doubly good, the girls add, because they
were proving these stereotypes wrong.
And their top-dog prize isn’t too bad,
either. Both girls got to experience a zero-gravity flight…and are heading to
Japan to watch their experiment be launched into space.
“I'm excited just thinking about it,” Sara
says. “A part of us—something that Dorothy and I created from scratch—will be
orbiting us high about the atmosphere.”
Interested in dabbling in the realm of
science? Well, start takin’ a look around ya.
“Science, quite literally, is everywhere,”
Dorothy says. “If you find something you like, and learn about the science
behind it, you're bound to start seeing the value and the fun in science.”
“Start asking questions about the world,”
Sara advises. “Wwhy do you have to wear gloves when bleaching? Why does your
heart beat faster when you're nervous? When you're curious, you able to find
what you like learning most about.”
But most of all, don’t ever give up—that’s
one thing both girls absolutely agree on.
learn more about Dorothy, Sara and their prize-winning science project? Watch
the video below!
BY JILLIAN ZACCHIA ON 7/10/2012 12:51:00 PM
POSTED IN Goal Getter, Get Inspired