Last week’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, saw Australian high school students take out no fewer than 11 awards, including the big one – the Gordon E Moore Award.
The Australian students attended the Intel event as part of the BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards delegation, and it was 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Award winner Oliver Nicholls that took home the top prize and US $75,000.
The 19-year-old from Sydney’s Barker College took the prize for his fully autonomous robotic window cleaner that is designed to reduce human injury and reduce the costs of window cleaning on medium rise commercial buildings. The small robotic device uses drones, motors and propellers to navigate building facades and clean windows using water and micro-fibre scrubbers.
In all, five of Australia’s 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards finalists secured a total of 11 major award wins against a field of more than 1800 high school students from 75 countries.
CSIRO Education and Outreach Director Mary Mulcahy said it was another example of Australia’s great science being recognised on the global stage.
“Australia is one of the best places in the world to start a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. By having our high school students winning international awards, we are further strengthening our international reputation as an innovative country,” she said.
BHP Billiton Foundation Executive Director James Ensor said seeing Australian high school students winning at an international level would inspire others to pursue independent research projects, adding that “Studying STEM topics fosters innovative thinking and problem solving abilities that will help to address sustainable development challenges. We believe that by supporting STEM education and achievement in young people, we are investing in Australia’s future problem solvers.”