Fifteen year-old Jack Andraka has awaken the medical field and research arena full-on with his recent invention of a diagnostic tool to detect pancreatic cancer. Andraka’s sensor can detect mesothelin, a protein commonly used as a biomarker for pancreatic cancer. There are existing pancreatic cancer diagnostic tests in use however, Andraka’s sensor is 100 times more selective than the existing diagnostic technique called enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (or ELISA). I first saw Andraka during a Sixty Minutes episode about a month ago. What I find so interesting about Andraka is his passion for science, his ability to communicate complex information to the laymen as well as medical doctors and researchers 40 plus years his age. Andraka states that “he is curious, he is creative” his parents stated that “he has inquired about science since the age of three.” Kudos to Andraka’s parents for providing an environment where he and his older brother can conduct scientific research. Andraka will continue to promote his biomarker sensor, which he says “will completely replace the existing test” within a few years. To nurture curiosity and creativity in all individuals should be the goal of education, whether it be within a system or informal. Find out more about Jack Andraka in the following Forbes article by Bruce Upbin.
Rodney Brooks delivers an interesting TED Talk on Why we rely on robots in the future. We see the use of robots in many industries. Robotics has become a major component of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum and classroom experiences. From elementary-age through university level students are being introduced to the exciting world of robotics. I’ll be adding robotic investigations into most of my STEM teacher training workshops beginning next school year. Check out my STEM workshops here. Whether you like them or not, Robots are here to stay. Check out the TED Talk by Rodney Brooks here.