Irish Teen Wins 2019 Google Science Fair For Removing Microplastics From Water

An Irish teenager just won $50,000 for his project focusing on extracting micros-plastics from water.

Google launched the Google Science Fair in 2011 where students ages 13 through 18 can submit experiments and their results in front of a panel of judges. The winner receives $50,000. The competition is also sponsored by Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific American.

Fionn Ferreira, an 18-year-old from West Cork, Ireland won the competition for his methodology to remove microplastics from water.

Microplastics are defined as having a diameter of 5nm or less and are too small for filtering or screening during wastewater treatment. Microplastics are often included in soaps, shower gels, and facial scrubs for their ability to exfoliate the skin. Microplastics can also come off clothing during normal washing.

These microplastics then make their way into waterways and are virtually impossible to remove through filtration. Small fish are known to eat microplastics and as larger fish eat smaller fish these microplastics are concentrated into larger fish species that humans consume.

Ferreira used a combination of oil and magnetite powder to create a ferrofluid in the water containing microplastics. The microplastics combined with the ferrofluid which was then extracted.

After the microplastics bound to the ferrofluid, Ferreira used a magnet to remove the solution and leave only water.

After 1,000 tests, the method was 87% effective in removing microplastics of all sorts from water. The most effective microplastic removed was that from a washing machine with the hardest to remove being polypropylene plastics.

With the confirmation of the methodology, Ferreira hopes to scale the technology to be able to implement at wastewater treatment facilities.

This would prevent the microplastics from ever reaching waterways and the ocean. While reduction in the use of microplastics is the ideal scenario, this methodology presents a new opportunity to screen for microplastics before they are consumed as food by fish.

At 18 Ferreira has an impressive array of accomplishments. He is the curator at the Schull Planetarium, speaks 3 languages fluently, won 12 previous science fair competitions, plays the trumpet in an orchestra and has a minor planet named after him by MIT.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a geologist passionate about sharing Earth’s intricacies with you. I received my PhD from Duke University where I studied the geology and climate of the Amazon.


Source: Irish Teen Wins 2019 Google Science Fair For Removing Microplastics From Water


How To Succeed Without Data, In A Data Driven World – Chaka Booker


There are some words that inspire confidence when you use them. “Data” is one of those words. Throw “data-driven” in front of “decision-making” and you’ll suddenly find yourself more credible. If someone is sharing an idea, ask about “the data” and your IQ shoots up several points. I believe in data. I understand how data can identify trends, minimize risk and lead to better decisions. Data comforts me. But the fixation on data has a drawback. It leads to the belief that decisions made without data – aren’t as strong. Never mind that bad decisions, based on data, get made all the time……

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Why Mathematicians Can’t Find the Hay in a Haystack – Vladyslav Danilin


The first time I heard a mathematician use the phrase, I was sure he’d misspoken. We were on the phone, talking about the search for shapes with certain properties, and he said, “It’s like looking for hay in a haystack.” “Don’t you mean a needle?” I almost interjected. Then he said it again. In mathematics, it turns out, conventional modes of thought sometimes get turned on their head. The mathematician I was speaking with, Dave Jensen of the University of Kentucky, really did mean “hay in a haystack.” By it, he was expressing a strange fact about mathematical research: Sometimes the most common things are the hardest to find…….

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What is The Difference Between Data Analysis and Data Science?


Following the current technological transformations within the economy, there has been an emergence of enormous career options, wherein, Data Science is the hottest. According to the Glassdoor, Data Science arose as the highest paid area. On the other hand, there is a significant field which has been gazing attention since years, i.e., Data Analysis. Both the Data Science and Data Analysis is often confused by the individuals. However, the terms are incredibly different in accordance with their job roles and the contribution they do to the businesses. But, are these the only factors which make these two distinct from each other? Well, to know more we need to take a look below:

Data Analysis Data Science:

Data Analysis is referred as the process of accumulating the data and then analyzing it to persuade the decision making for the business. The analysis is undertaken with a business goal and impact the strategies. Whereas, Data Science is a much broader concept where a set of tools and techniques are implied upon to extract the insights from the data. It involves several aspects of mathematics, statistics, scientific methods, etc. to drive the essential analysis of data


The individuals misinterpret Data Analysis with Data Science, but the methodologies for both are diverse. The skill set for the two are distinct as well. The fundamental skills required for Data Analysis are Data Visualisation, HIVE, and PIG, Communication Skills, Mathematics, In-Depth understanding of R and python and Statistics. On the other hand, the Data Science embed the skills like – Machine Learning, Analytical Skills, Database Coding, SAS/R, understanding of Bayesian Networks and Hive


Though the areas – Data Analysis and Data Science, are often confused about being similar, but the methodology is different for both. The methods used in the two are diverse. The essential techniques used in Data Analysis are – Data Mining, Regression, Network Analysis, Simulation, Time Series Analysis, Genetic Algorithms and so on. While, the Data Science involves – Split Testing, categorizing the issues, cluster analysis and so on


Just like the areas are different, so are their goals. The Data analysis is basically about answering the questions generated, for the betterment of the businesses. While the Data Science is concerned with shaping the questions followed by answering The Data science, as illustrated above, is a more profound concept

The era of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is shaping economy in a much more comprehensive aspect. The organizations are moving towards data-driven decision-making process. The data is becoming imperative in functioning and are not limited to the Information Technology organizations. It is soon taking over the industries like – Sports, Medicine, Hospitality, etc.

Such technological advancements have led to a rise in the job opportunities in the area of Data Science and Analysis. The merely significant facet which needs to be taken into consideration is the understanding of the difference between the two. The Big Data is the future which is expected to lay a considerable impact on the operations of both industries and routine life.



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