Dubai duo wins second place at Intel ISEF in Los Angeles with ‘Grains of Gold’

May 21, 2014 4:02 pm

A team of two female seniors from Al Ittihad Private School came second in their category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, USA, last week – the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. The duo won with their science project, ‘Grains of Gold’, which was showcased at the fair from May 11- 16.

Shamma Al Bastaki and Hayat Abu Alhassan were among 16 young Emirati scientists to take part in the fair following selection by renowned industry and academic experts during the Emirates Foundation Think Science competition, held last month.

Finalists at the Intel ISEF were judged on their creativity, scientific thought, skill, and ability to clearly showcase their vision in their projects. ‘Grains of Gold’ won second place in the category of Environmental Sciences and Management for its practical applicability in real life situations. Finding inspiration from a visit to the Middle East’s first soil museum, the project demonstrated how to use Hydrophobic Sand – sand that is chemically manipulated to resist water – as a way to minimize water waste in soils. The young scientists were commended for their project’s alignment with the UAE’s vision to become green, and it is hoped that the technology used will be used in practice across landscapes in the UAE.

Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at the Emirates Foundation said, “The Think Science Ambassador Program inspires and encourages young scientists in recognition that the path to a sustainable future for the UAE lies in the power of talented youth. We are proud and honoured to see that one of our Think Science project ambassadors has won the second place at the Intel Science Fair in the category of environmental sciences for their project- “Grains of Gold”. These bright minds are the first UAE nationals to have won this esteemed recognition. As role models they are now empowered to encourage other young Emirati youth to further explore and develop their knowledge, analytical thinking and skills as they work together to solve local and global technological challenges facing the nation today. We are delighted that these young talented Emirati students not only represent the UAE as a part of our program and we are hopeful that more and more young Emirati’s will participate in the programme and win many more such awards.”

Commenting on this great achievement, Hayat Abu Alhassan said: “After having achieved great success at ISEF, we are now ready to play a larger role in empowering and encouraging upcoming Emiratis talent. We now feel even more confident in playing a leading role by investing our skills and capabilities on our youth; paving the way for a brighter and better future.”

Shamma Al Bastaki said: “The Think Science Ambassador programe by Emirates Foundation has empowered us by providing us with the required knowledge, skills and tools to dawn leadership roles. Emirates Foundation played a vital role in enhancing communications between Think Science Ambassadors and science experts as well as preparing the young scientists to represent The UAE in this competition, which had a great impact enabling them to win in this prestigious international competition.”

Intel ISEF provides an annual forum for more than 1,700 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in awards. Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in SSP-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF.

The Think Science Ambassadors Project is one of three projects under the Emirates Foundation’s Think Science Program, which is held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. The program also includes Think Science Connect and the Think Science Fair and Competition – one of the biggest events of its kind in the region. Every year the fair attracts thousands of school and university students, parents, academics, investors and private sector representatives to a platform where the youth showcase their brain power and innovations in the field of science and technology.