By Xiu Ying, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Eighteen-year-old Brazilian student Juliana Estradioto won first place at one of world’s largest pre-college science fairs.
Born in Osório, Rio Grande do Sul, she researched the uses of macadamia nut shells in wound dressing or for packaging.
Juliana Estradioto won the highest prize in the Materials Science category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The results were announced last Friday, May 17th, during the event in Phoenix, Arizona.
Because of the result, Juliana Estradioto will also get to name an asteroid after herself – that opportunity is given to students who win the first or second places in each category of the competition.
The young woman has just graduated from the technical course in Administration, which is equivalent to high school, at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS).
During her studies, she researched how the macadamia nut could be used to replace synthetic materials, avoiding the production of waste.
In an interview with the Ministry of Education this Thursday, Juliana Estradioto explained she made flour out of the macadamia nutshells. According to her, macadamia membranes are flexible and resistant, which allows their use in dressing for wounded or burnt skin.
Another possible use, according to her, is the production of packaging for dog waste, replacing plastic. She used donated shells derived from the processing of nuts that would have gone to waste otherwise in her research.
“A scientist can create and research things that are directly connected to people’s lives. I’m thrilled that I can help other people through science. There are so many things in our everyday lives that are made thanks to technology and science, and we don’t even realize it,” she said.
During the award ceremony, she got emotional and was supported by her classmates.
Juliana Estradioto has also qualified to attend the ceremony presenting the Nobel Prize, in Stockholm, Sweden.