Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Q: What is the best way scientists can make more science?

A: Have kids.

There is no doubt that growing up in a house that teaches science you are likely to have children that are also interested in asking questions.  That is what Andrey Sushko's (17 years old) family was like. The progeny of scientists. The wild type control perhaps started asking questions like: 'I wonder if I can make a motor powered by surface tension?' or 'what kind of superhydrophobic substance could be used?' or 'what could a really really small motor be used for?' or 'why the hell does my model boats keep getting stuck on the edge of the tub?'

These kinds of questions were asked, answered and prototyped into an actual motor that was entered into the National Science Talent Search sponsored by Intel. After years of fabricating model boats (one that even got into the Guinness Book of World Records for the smallest radio-controlled sailing yacht) Andrey made a really small motor.  The motor uses the surface tension of water to turn the shaft.  At only 7 mm in diameter the tiny shaft is coated with hydrophobic coating.  This coating can translate the curvature of water into rotation of the shaft.  This then can make a micro-mechanical device that increases its efficiency with miniaturization. 

This was also shown here.

No doubt he watched Almost Live and Bill Nye the Science guy in his native Washington State (see the boat at 4 minutes).