Editor's note: We're celebrating this year's impressive 20 Google Science Fair finalist projects over 20 days in our Spotlight on a Young Scientist series. Learn more about each of these inspiring young people and hear what inspires them in their own words.





Names: Monique (Yo) Hsu and
             Gina (Jing-Tong) Wang

Home: Taipei City, Taiwan

Age category: 13-15

Project: Knock on fuel: detecting impurities in gasoline with sound pattern analysis





At school, Monique and Gina learned that an underground gasoline market exists throughout the world. Offenders, most commonly in Asia, blend cheap solvents into gasoline and sell it to the public, cheating people of high quality fuel. Monique and Jing-Tong decided that the public needed to know the difference between pure gasoline and a mixed solvent. By analyzing sound patterns, they found that it was possible to use sound (knocking) to identify different types of liquids and distinguish pure gasoline from a mixed solvent – saving the public the headaches and cost of purchasing fake gasoline.


What was the inspiration behind your project?

Monique: There have been a lot of incidents caused by adulterated gasoline and liquor. And we wanted to change that, so we started thinking of a way that’s easy, cheap and useful for uncovering gasoline impurities. Then we came up with a crazy but usable idea: use the knocking sounds to analyze the different liquids.

Gina: More and more food safety problems are troubling Taiwanese people and people all over the world. There has also been a lot of corruption with gasoline impurity in the world recently. That inspired us to find methods to uncover adulterated goods. That's the reason why we did our project.

When and why did you become interested in science?

Monique: Because my dad is a science teacher, I’ve had a lot of exposure to science from a young age. I have the fortune of access to a lot more science books than other classmates have, and I can ask my dad science questions whenever I want. This has fed my natural love for science, and the more books I read and research I do online, the more I want to probe to use science to probe and discover. So now, I'm really good at science, and I love it, too. Thanks, Dad!

Gina: When I was a child, somewhere around kindergarten, I was curious about the composition of things and really wanted to know things like how a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. I love meditation. When I was in third grade we did an Independent Study called "ming-shui time." I loved being able to do many little experiments on my own. The experiments, whether independently or at school, are the seeds of scientific discovery.

What words of advice would you share with other young scientists?

Monique: Be curious. Use your smart brain to improve the world, and enjoy doing so of course.

Gina: If you get an idea, just try to test it out. If you have an interest in science, apply it to figure things out.