Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why did this teen eat so many bananas?

Elif Bilgin, 16, lives in Istanbul, Turkey. Ever since fourth grade, she's been in a school for gifted children where she excelled in her classes. As a teenager, she studied environmental climate change and became determined to find an alternative to petroleum produced plastics.  She knew potatoes and mango peels are already used to make bio-plastic, but what about bananas? After all, Thailand discards 200 tons of banana peels every single day. Could those peels create bio-plastic?

                                                                                                                                 Google Science Fair
To find out, she had to buy LOTS of bananas. Vendors became her friends as she visited them often, always looking for bananas that were exactly the right size and skin color. After experimenting with the peels, she used the fruit to make very unique banana splits, cupcakes and other desserts. But her research appeared fruitless. The plastics she created were too weak and decayed too fast. Months went by but she kept experimenting until, after TWO YEARS, her persistence paid off. She obtained the result she was seeking, and her discovery won the Science in Action award of $50,000 at the 2013 Google Science Fair. If you'd like to meet Elif, who is fluent in English, and hear her describe her project (with lots of smiles), visit www.youtube.com/watch?t=14&v=BMR-oMpCbjo.

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