Nerds In Real Life

Awesome Nerd: Kiara Nirghin

When I was 16, the closest I came to helping solve a global crisis was providing my buddies with a reliable transportation solution because:

  1. I was the first to get his driver’s license, and
  2. My grandmother had two cars (I got the Chevy Citation).

Photo credit: CNN.com Photo credit: CNN.com

At 16, Johannesburg student and Awesome Nerd Kiara Nirghin set her sights on a much, much bigger problem: how to cost-effectively sustain crops in drought-stricken areas of South Africa.

Kiara formulated a new kind of super absorbent polymer (SAP) that uses orange peel and avocado skins to store water hundreds of times its own weight. While agricultural scientists have been using SAPs for years to help reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and improve water storage, Kiara’s innovation will enable farmers to sustain crops during drought conditions using a low-cost, biodegradable SAP that will create enduring water reserves.

She submitted her idea titled, “No More Thirsty Crops,” to this year’s Google Science Fair and won the Community Impact Award for the Middle East and Africa.

Way to go, Kiara – Nerd on!

Want to see some more SAPs in action? Check out how SAPs can be used in water clean-up, home gardening, and making snow.

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