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Friday, March 1, 2024

14-year-old African-American boy invents soap that cures cancer, wins award as America’s youngest scientist

A 14-year-old African-American boy named Herman Bekele who invented a soap that cures skin cancer has won an award as America’s youngest scientist.

Herman Bekele is a ninth grader at W.T. Woodson High School in Annandale who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He moved to the United States when he was four years old.

Herman won the won the 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is a science and engineering competition for middle school students, administered by Discovery Education and 3M in the United States.

He also made history as the first Black scientist to receive the honor. Herman was awarded a 25,000 dollars cash prize and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist.

 

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”It’s incredible and it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity and something that I’ll never forget. It’s definitely gonna stay with me forever, but I’m still taking it all in,” he said in an interview with AFROTECH.

Heman developed Melanoma Treating Soap, a compound-based bar of soap designed to treat skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Treating Soap (SCTS) final product was made available at a cheap $0.50 per bar of soap.

“I was looking into the issue of skin cancer and the fact that, especially in third world countries, people living under the poverty line just can’t afford the treatment necessary for skin cancer led me to try to come up with a solution and that solution ended up being a Skin Cancer Treating Soap,” he said.

 

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Herman’s mother, Muluemebet Getachew who is also his special education teacher described him as one who is self-driven. She stated that he started exploring science at a very young age.

He mentioned that over the next five years, he hopes to refine his innovation and create a nonprofit organization that will distribute this low-cost solution to communities in need.

“It took about a year and a half to develop, but it’s at the stage where it’s at today, and of course, there’s still a lot left to create this part of soap. It’s supposed to help heal the skin internally, which will then show results externally because the skin cancer will slowly start to fade away,” he added.

Heman said in fifteen years, he hopes to be a successful electrical engineer who has contributed significantly to the industry, with a fulfilling personal life with a loving family and a strong network of friends.

 

 

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