Northport whiz kid Aidan Dwyer walked away with $1,500 in cash and prizes at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this month after qualifying as a finalist in the prestigious national competition.
Dwyer, 14, entered his solar panel array innovation, based upon a mathematical principal found in nature called the Fibonacci sequence, which improves the efficacy of energy collection. He was among a group of ten other young finalists in the competition.
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Over the past three months, Aidan and the other finalists had the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M Scientist as they created their personal innovations as part of a summer mentorship program. The 3M Scientists provided guidance to the finalists as they developed their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype that would help solve a problem in everyday life.
At the final competition, the finalists shared their completed innovations with a panel of judges, including Danny Forster of SCIENCE's Build it Bigger. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges in which they were asked to: 1) combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) build a machine designed to turn on a light bulb using science and engineering principles. Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology.
"I liked the whole idea of solving problems and using your imagination to come up with an innovation to help others. I enjoy working with my hands and building things and the Challenge was perfect," Dwyer said of the competition. "I also like photography and making videos so putting together a presentation telling your story sounded like a lot of fun."
Aidan's video entry can be seen here.