Congratulations to Melwin Cheng Choon Lei and Tham Yong Shiang from SMJK Chung Ling, Penang who bagged Gold at the recent Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2019 (Intel ISEF) in the United States.
As first prize winners, an asteroid will be named after both of them.
Although this might not be in the nearest future, as there are many guidelines set by the International Astronomical Union, the boys are still excited.
Besides getting an asteroid named after them, they’re also walking away with a cash prize of $3,000 (RM12,589).
Only after 2 years of hard work, and winning in the National Science and Engineering Innovation Challenge (Pistek) in Kuala Lumpur last November, did they manage to make their way to the US.
Their project combats Aedes mosquitoes at the larvae stage by using cinnamon extract to get rid of Aedes mosquito larvae.
Melwin and Tham had managed to make their larvicide eco-friendly and 90% cheaper than the current commercial pesticide.
Currently, they are in the process of patenting their idea and publishing a research paper.
They may not be the first Malaysians among the stars but they surely made their mark in space, something only a handful of Malaysians have achieved.
As we remember Malaysia’s first astrophysicist Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, first astronaut Datuk Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie Sheikh Mustapha in 2007, and 2015 fellow student Faye Jong-Sow Fei who first etched her name on an asteroid after her win at the Intel ISEF 2014.
Not bad, Malaysia. Not bad at all.