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Lone Tree girl named America’s Top Young Scientist after inventing lead-detecting sensor to help residents of Flint, Mich.
15.02.2021 Megan Mitchell
ChemistryChild Prodigy
Gitanjali Rao Gitanjali Rao

America’s Top Young Scientist, Gitanjali Rao, 12, was ecstatic when her mother walked into their Lone Tree home holding a present that would alarm most people.

“There’s a place around here that sells hazardous chemicals, and they had lead acetate, which is the most commonly found compound of lead,” Gitanjali, a seventh-grader at STEM School Highlands Ranch, said. “When my mom said, ‘I bought you lead acetate,’ I was like, ‘Yes!’ Nobody expects to be able to find lead in a store.”

Before she earned the title “America’s Top Young Scientist,” Gitanjali had been trying to get her (gloved) hands on the compound to test her most recent invention: a lead-detecting sensor that attaches to a cellphone and tells people via an app if their drinking water is contaminated.
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