Reading about the teenager's body-heat powered flashlight may give parents feelings of hope or angst. Is my teen's academic success speeding forward? Is it OK if they're stalled?
A 15-year-old student inventor of a new kind of flashlight is the latest in a long line of young people to catch the public imagination with the sheer ambition of her creation. Ann Makosinski, a high school junior from Canada, harnessed Peltier tiles (which generate electricity when one side is cooled and the other is heated) to make a flashlight that can run for about 20 minutes by using nothing more than human body heat. This puts her in the running for the Google Science Fair's $50,000 top prize, to be announced in September.
Inventions have captivated commentators and the general public since the era of the ancient Greeks (remember that cool ship-burning lens thing?) and Chinese (paper, anybody?), and they're doubly inspiring when young people create them - evidence that within every child there is a Leonardo da Vinci waiting to hatch.