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Young Pakistani innovators head to Intel fair in LA

From left to right, Fatima Sohail, Habibullah, Mehwish Ghafoor and Ambreen Bibi during a press briefing in Karachi. All finalists will participate in The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which will be held in Los Angeles from May 8 -13, 2011. – Photo by Suhail Yusuf / Dawn.com

KARACHI: A batch of young Pakistani scientists are ready to participate in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which will be held in Los Angeles, USA from May 8 -13, 2011.
After a careful selection made on district level, then followed by provincial and national levels, the finalists will be competing for nearly US $4 million in various categories in the world’s largest fair of innovations.
The confident candidates of the Intel competition explained their inventions to media persons in a Karachi hotel on Friday.
Earlier Naveed Siraj, the Country Manager of Intel Pakistan explained Intel’s aim to promote science, technology and education worldwide and particularly in Pakistan.
Talking about ISEF, Siraj said that Intel is committed to promote analytical, logical and critical thinking among the students. Now the finalists will take part in ISEF where more than 500 students from 70 countries will present their inventions in categories such as health, medicine, computers, environment and other disciplines of physical and chemical sciences.
Siraj also highlighted the Intel Teach Program in Pakistan set up for the capacity development of teachers in which hundreds of teachers were being trained for the betterment of education at a grass-root level.
Local thought-Global approach
Habibullah, an O-Levels student of Lahore invented an organic battery, which produces electricity through sewerage water and also produces clean water through one scientific concept.
Habibullah told Dawn.com that the concept of electrolysis is behind the invention in which the bacteria and ions in polluted water played a key role in producing hydrogen and electrons.
He believed that his inventions could be useful to overcome the electricity shortage and sewage problem in the country by upgrading the idea to an industrial scale.
Fatima Sohail from Karachi, currently in Class 9, devised a vertical air generator, which effectively produces electricity by hot air.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Fatima said that in a trip to Africa, she once saw a vertical windmill. This idea inspired Fatima to invent something relevant and according to Pakistani demands.
Pointing out her prototype in the meeting, Fatima said that “we know hot air is lighter than cold air and moves upwards”. By using the same concept, she made a simple device consisting of air column and a large plastic bottle.
Air and sunlight are two important requirements to run this project. The air is collected in a transparent chamber and heated by the sunlight. The hot air moves upward and reached a special chamber. It then moves a turbine which generates electricity. She successfully ran a hair dryer with her prototype.
Ambreen Bibi and Mehwish Ghafoor, both F.Sc medical students from Lahore, collectively invented a mechanism to degrade pollutants by using Nano-composits.
For the project they even visited the National Centre for Physics in Islamabad where the experts helped them devise Cerium Oxide-Manganese Oxide Nano-composite which is used to degrade organic pollutants.


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