A Surrey high school science whiz got to rub elbows with some of the world's top scientists, engineers and policymakers at a recent symposium.
Tyler Tardi, a Grade 8 student at Lord Tweedsmuir, showed off his award-winning science project at the American Junior Academy of Science annual meeting in Vancouver Feb. 15-19.
"It was a big honour to be a part of it," Tyler said.
In addition to displaying his project, Tyler also made a power point presentation, participated in a round table discussion and heard some of the world's leading scientists talk about their work.
Tyler's science project, which harnesses electrical power from rainwater, won a silver medal in a national competition in Toronto last year.
The accolades at the Canada Wide Science Fair include a $2,000 scholarship to the University of Toronto.
"My project was to see if I could generate energy from rain," Tyler explained.
The 13-year-old student rigged up several types of turbines, pipes and water reservoirs before successfully creating a device that produced 0.84 watts of energy an hour, enough to power a 40-watt light bulb.
"Unfortunately, it only saved two cents a year in energy costs," Tyler said.
Despite the modest returns of his small-scale project, Tyler said the principle of his project has potential on a greater scale.
"Every house has a drain pipe," he noted.
A fan of the television show Daily Planet, Tyler was watching an episode that included a section on the mammoth turbines that power dams when inspiration struck.
"I looked outside and it was pouring, and rain was flying out of the gutters so I thought if I could put a turbine in that, I could generate electricity with it," he said.
Tyler said a number of people stopped by to admire his project, including a scientist associated with TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.
As part of the activities, Tyler had the opportunity to tour the TRIUMF lab at UBC, the highlight of his week.
"It was huge," he said of the facility. Tyler said he plans to study engineering at university.
Principal Allan Buggie described Tyler as a talented and creative student who has distinguished himself at LTSS in academics and sports.
"He's a young man that we're going to be watching for the next few years," Buggie said.