Teen scientists show findings at president’s succa
At Peres's annual Open Succa, students in Future Scientists and Inventors program show off their discoveries.
Shoham Behar (left) and Joseph Mouallem (right) Photo: Danielle Ziri
“Trust the bubbles, they don’t lie,” said 16- year-old Itay Bloch, a student in
the Future Scientists and Inventors program, to people gathered around his stand
at the president’s annual Open Succa on Wednesday.
He and his fellow
classmates have found a way to use soap bubbles to conduct things such as
electricity between points – an idea that can be implemented for cheap
electricity supply and other engineering purposes.
President Shimon Peres
launched the Future Scientists and Inventors program in 2009 to target “highly
talented pupils who are insufficiently challenged by the education system.” The
four-year curriculum requires an exam, a love for science, and endless
curiosity. Beginning in the eighth grade and running through the 12th, the
program entails 20 weeks of classes each year in science, biotechnology,
physics, electronics, robotics, biology, chemistry, aeronautics, nanotechnology
and applied mathematics.
Classes take place at either Tel Aviv University
or the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, but students come from
across the country. During summer vacation, participants are also immersed in
the industry and experience research work in professional labs.
really hard work, but it’s really worth it,” said Bloch. “It’s so much fun that
finally there is a program like this for kids like me.”
His mother is
happy to see him doing what he loves.
“He found himself here. He
flourishes and he is having fun,” she said with a large smile. “He was bored in
school, and very few teachers knew how to challenge him.”
Bloch has now
stopped going to high school and is studying for his diploma at home.
couple of meters across from Bloch’s stand, Shoham Behar and Joseph Mouallem,
from the Haifa area, explained their findings, in English, to a couple of
intrigued American tourists.
“Put your hands in the bowl!” Behar
encouraged them, indicating the pink sand in a large bowl of water on the table.
The sand had gone through a series of processes to make it hydrophobic, or
averse to water. As a result, when the sand is pulled out of the bowl, it comes
out completely dry and powdery.
“This can be used for other things than
sand,” Mouallem made clear, “like for construction, so that water doesn’t ruin
“They are going to do this for a living later,” said
Adam Haisraeli, director of TAU’s youth programs. “There are a lot of people in
universities, but nothing like these kids.”
Peres, who took the stand
during the event, declared to the audience’s applause that “the biggest thing we
have going on for us in Israel are the kids.”
Later, Science and
Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz praised the country’s technological
achievements and said that “the kids are our opportunity to touch the
Haisraeli added that in preparation for the open house
exhibition, the students had worked on their prototypes for a whole
The main rule for the event was not to come up with a prototype
that had already been done, but to invent something of their own.
school, they are considered weird, but here, everyone is like them. They have an
opportunity to make friends with people with whom they have things in common,”
To date, 80 teenagers study at the program in Tel Aviv
University and 30 in the Technion. The program coordinators are aiming to expand
it to other establishments.
Haisraeli said the IDF intelligence and
technological units also acknowledge the students’ achievements, which he
believes will lead to good placements for them when they begin their army