2018 award winners with ASTA president Geoff Quinton, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall and BHP Billiton Foundation director Pat Risner.
THE winners of the 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards include an autonomous window cleaner, a water filter and fertilizer made from agricultural by-products, and bioplastic made from prawn shell and silkworm silk.
Three Sydney-based high school students were awarded Australia’s most prestigious school science and engineering prize, a partnership between CSIRO, the BHP Billiton Foundation and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA).
Barker College student Oliver Nicholls from NSW won the engineering category, combining his knowledge of mathematics, physics and design to create an autonomous robotic window cleaner designed to reduce injury and decrease the costs of window cleaning.
Winner of the Investigations category was Sydney Girls High School student Minh Nga Nguyen, an aspiring environmental engineer who used agricultural by-products such as corn husks, bamboo scraps and rice waste to create a biochar product with the dual capability of filtering water and then being used as a fertilizer.
Also from Sydney Girls High School, Innovator to Market category winner Angelina Arora developed a bioplastic made from prawn shell and sticky protein from the silk of silkworms which completely degrades. The plastic has potential to replace current plastic shopping bags and other packaging to reduce the environmental impact in landfill and in the ocean.
CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said the award winners’ ideas and achievements would inspire other students to become innovators.
“The world is changing faster than many of us can keep up with, but science, technology, engineering and maths can guide that future through innovation,” Dr Marshall said.
Six of this year’s finalists will have the opportunity to go to Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US, where over 1800 high school students from 75 countries, regions and territories are given the opportunity to showcase their research.