Gallery B

Bright Young Minds
Page 2
Page 3

Amazing Inventions By Egyptian, Dutch Students

By James Donahue
At about the point when we were beginning to believe there was no hope for our dying planet, three teenagers in various parts of the world have dreamed up workable ideas for solving what we perceived as unsolvable problems.

Using quantum physics formulas that literally boggle this writer’s mind, Aisha Mustafa, 19, of Egypt has invented a way to utilize the Casimir effect to create a Quantum Space Propulsion System that may be able to propel spacecraft through the vacuum of space without using a drop of conventional fuel. A patent on her invention has been applied for by Sohag University. Mustafa and a team of participating physicists are studying her concept in hopes of soon testing it on a real space craft.
The Casimir effect involves physical forces arising from a quantized field, which, for example, can be created by placing two uncharged metallic places a few micrometers apart within a vacuum. While in this position, the plates affect photons that exist between them and thus they generate a “net force” that can either be an attraction or repulsion, depending on the way the plates are arranged.

The effect is named for Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir who discovered it in 1947.

Another young Egyptian student, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, 16, has discovered an inexpensive catalyst that can be used to turn tons of discarded plastic into an economically efficient way of producing hydrocarbon fuel. Her discovery has the potential of allowing companies all over the world to profit from the tons of recycled plastic now piling up in landfills or being dumped into the open sea. Faiad has been awarded the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for young Scientists. She is applying for patents.

And in Holland, another science student Boyan Slat, 19, is studying the feasibility of an idea he has developed for removing tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. He conceives of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that might span garbage patches, separating plastic from plankton and storing it for recycling.

Slat’s paper on this project has won several prizes, including Best Technical Design 2012 at Delft University of Technology. Slat also has founded The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization working to develop his proposed plastic collection device. If successful, the project has the potential of saving thousands of endangered aquatic animals, reducing pollutants in the food chain and going a long way toward cleaning up the world’s polluted oceans.
There is something gratifying about realizing that today’s youth is not sitting around wringing their hands about the terrible state of the world and the apparent inability or unwillingness of national and international leadership to do anything about it. They are taking matters into their own hands and solving problems that many researchers have been saying are insolvable.