When Peyton Robertson was still a toddler in 2005 he and his family
waited out hurricane Wilma inside a closet. The experience had a huge effect on the lad. He focused on those big, heavy sandbags that are used
to hold Peyton Robertson demonstrates the science behind his Sandless Operarional Sandbags (You Tube Image)back the water and how inefficient they are to move and handle,
and how they don't hold back all of the water. So he decided that it
was up to him to come up with a solution -- and he has. This year he won
the title of America's 2013 Top Young Scientist for his invention: the
Sandless Operational Sandbag.
At the ripe old age of 11, Robertson has some up with a sandbag that weighs one-tenth that of traditional sandbags so that they are easier and less expensive to transport, as well as easier to move into place. The bags, made of salt and a mix of chemicals, expand when you wet them down and this helps them form a tight seal. He also designed it to be heavier than the approaching water so that it couldn't be washed away. After the storm the bags can be dried out and stored for the next time.
Peyton Robertson accepting his award (You Tube Image)The 2013 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge asked young students to create a 1-2 minute video describing a new invention or innovation that could solve or have an impact an everyday problem related to how we live, work or play. Robertson's video had the energy and enthusiasm of an infomercial. He is also able to make adults feel that their education is seriously lacking.
As a part of the award, Robertson received $25,000 and a trip to Costa Rica. No doubt some of that money will go towards creating his next invention.
Robertson, who has been solving math problems since he was three, says that his favorite subjects in school are math and science. When it's time to relax he enjoys playing golf. For his younger twin sisters he invented retractable training wheels with handlebar controls for their bicycles to help them learn to ride. He has also received the 2011 National Kids' Science Challenge Grand Prize.
Needless to say, Robertson has a really bright future ahead of him -- and with him on our side, so do we.
Sources: ABC News, Huffington Post, Young Scientist Challenge