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Clever Girl

17-Year-Old Invents Low-Cost Mine Detector Using Sound Waves

I’d say I’m sick of hearing about teenagers doing more than I’ll ever accomplish in my entire life but I can’t do it, honestly. These kids are amazing. The latest? Seventeen-year-old Marian Bechtel. She’s a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search thanks to a low-cost device she created that can detect land mines using sound waves. Yup, like I said, amazing. 

If the Intel Science Talent Search sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve written about it on The Mary Sue before. Specifically Samantha Garvey, the homeless teen who was also vying for a spot in the finals. Garvey unfortunately didn’t make it to the last round but Bechtel did thanks to her invention.

“Using sound waves to determine where explosives are located, the device is a standard metal detector equipped with microphones and a seismic vibrator,” writes the Huffington Post. “Her idea came about when she played certain notes on the piano and noticed that the strings of a nearby banjo would vibrate — she then decided to investigate whether the same principle could be applied to detecting landmines in warzones.”

Well, yes, *cough* that would have been my assumption in the same situation as well.

Bechtel’s parents work in geology and she placed some of her inspiration for the idea on them as well. ”Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines,” she told MSNBC. “I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say.”

This young lady didn’t walk away with the grand prize of the contest, that honor went to Nithin Tumma for his breast cancer research, but don’t be surprised if you see Bechtel’s work being developed down the road. Listen to the highly intelligent teen speak about her impressive project.

(via Huffington Post)

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  • Nikki Lincoln

    I saw her last name and couldn’t help but wonder if she is related to the Bechtel’s of the Bechtel Corporation – aka the largest engineering firm in the United States. Not to play down her success or anything but if she is than there is some sort of advantage of growing up in a family of engineers and scientists. 

  • Laura

    More uplifting stories like this, please. I never get sick of hearing about amazing young people.

  • Anna B

    And so the saying holds true, “chance only favors the prepared mind.”  I must’ve banged on a piano with string instruments nearby so many times. I never ever thought in the direction of a “land mind detector.” It’s because I’m a dumbass and she’s brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    She is from Pennsylvania.  the Bechtels of Bechtel Engineering are in California.  Please don’t look for reasons to belittle her.  Just be amazed.

  • Nikki Lincoln

    Yup, no way that a 100+ year old family would ever have younger generations move to different parts of the country…
    I wasn’t belittling her, it was more of a Tony Stark comparison… more likely to be a scientist when you come from science. 

  • Anonymous

    a) I detect sarcasm
    b) The article says straight out that her parents are scientists, so what does Bechtel Corp. have to do with your “point”.
    c) Perhaps you did not intend it as such, but your”point” does belittle her by essentially saying “someone other than her deserves some of the credit”.