16 year old Elif Bilgin from Turkey has won the 2nd annual Science in Action award for her project of making bio-plastic from banana peels. Bloomberg carried this story:
On Thursday, June 27, Elif Bilgin, 16, from Turkey, was declared the winner of the second annual Scientific American Science in Action Award , powered by the Google Science Fair. Bilgin won for her project, Going Bananas! Using Banana Peels in the Production of Bio-Plastic as a Replacement for Traditional Petroleum-Based Plastic . In addition to the $50,000 prize, Bilgin will have access to a year's mentorship and is invited to Google's California headquarters in September to compete in the 15-to-16-year-old age category in the overall Google Science Fair. "My project makes it possible to use banana peels, a waste material which is thrown away almost every day, in the electrical insulation of cables," says Bilgin. "This is both an extremely nature-friendly and cheap process, which has the potential to decrease the amount of pollution created due to the use of plastics, which contain petroleum derivatives." Scientific American 's independent judging panel elected Bilgin from a pool of 15 Scientific American Science in Action Award finalists who were culled from thousands of submissions from more than 120 countries for the 2013 Google Science Fair. "Thomas Edison famously said, 'Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,'" says Mariette DiChristina, editor in chief of Scientific American and chief Google Science Fair judge. "He would have found a kindred spirit in Elif Bilgin who spent two years toiling away on her project to develop a bioplastic from discarded banana skins. We admire her persistence and her wonderful work."