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Young Scientist Challenge: Narrowing Down Ideas

At the moment, I'm in the middle of what is perhaps the most difficult part of the scientific process: choosing a topic. Basically, I have to identify a current issue in our world and brainstorm about solutions to that problem that could come about through an innovation that I will be creating. This task of deciding on an issue has proved more difficult than expected, mainly because the entire rest of my project will be based upon the foundation of this topic. After much thought and research, I realized that there are many small issues and inconveniences in our daily lives, but what I want to address are the bigger problems of our world, and how our lives play into them. I want my innovation to put a dent into issues that affect nations, economies, and the environment. I know that this may be broad thinking, but I figure that unless something is strived for, it will never be achieved.

Narrowing down topics wasn't easy for me. I felt like I was limiting possibilities by eliminating ideas, but I knew that I couldn't solve all of our world's problems with my one innovation, so I began thinking about which issues I could address most successfully. After consideration, some issues appeared to be too large scale, and others seemed to be things that I couldn't really impact on my own. I began to realize how I want to go about designing my innovation. I want to use the little things we do in our everyday lives to make a difference, each in a small way, but together in a big way. I feel that it can't just be scientists in labs working for solutions to problems; the whole population has to be involved in the effort to make a change.

Just thinking about the issues of our world has inspired me to be more conscious about how I am impacting them, in both positive and negative ways. I believe that being aware of our world's problems plays the biggest part in solving them. I also think that what motivates real scientists to persist in finding a solution, even when situations seem hopeless, is the prospect of success and believing that all of their hard work will be worth something in the end. With the field of science, you don't just work to make a profit or to cash in hours. You work because of your passion to solve problems and find solutions. At least that's what I'm striving to do with my innovation. I feel that, even though my work will only be able to do a small amount of change, if I build upon a worthy topic, then it will all be worthwhile.

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