The Science in Action Award, which earned Elif a $50,000 prize and a year of mentoring to help further her work, honors a project that addresses an environmental, health, or resource challenge, and is easy to put into action. In her report, Elif expressed her hope that her invention could one day replace some of the petroleum-based plastics currently in use. She described it as being so easy to make that "one could do it at home" and there are ample raw materials -- in Thailand alone, she noted, 200 tons of peels are discarded daily.
To develop her bioplastic, Elif experimented for two years and went through ten trials before finding one that didn't decay rapidly or was too weak to be useful. She believes that her discovery could be used in applications such as insulation for electric cables as well as for cosmetic prostheses -- a strong interest of this Mighty Girl who hopes to attend medical school one day.
When asked what being recognized as a Science in Action Award winner meant to her, Elif replied: "For me, this means that my project actually has a potential to be a solution to the increasing pollution problem caused by petroleum-based plastic. It also means that I have started the process of changing the world, which makes me feel like a winner already.”
Kudos to this incredible Mighty Girl for her impressive ingenuity and passion for using science to change the world!
To read a profile on Elif in Scientific American, visit http://tinyurl.com/mfnzhrm or listen to an interview with her on PRI's The World at http://www.theworld.org/2013/07/turkey-plastic-banana-peels/
To read about all of the Google Science Fair Finalists, visit https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/2013/
For an excellent book for ages 8 and up about women inventors, we recommend "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women" at http://www.amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything
To share the stories of other amazing girls and women in science with your Mighty Girl, visit our "Science Biographies" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/biography?cat=209
For hands on science kits and toys to spark your own Mighty Girl’s interest in science, visit our "Science Toys" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/science-math