16-Year-Old Teen Develops Armor That “Blocks” Radiation During Cancer Treatments, Reducing Exposure By 16% By Amanda Froelich for Natural Blaze
Meet Macinley Butson, a young inventor who has received international recognition for her efforts to protect women from excess radiation during breast cancer treatments. Thanks to her ingenuity, the copper SMART armor has the potential to save countless lives.
Butson has always been fascinated by science. Only after her father, who works in medical physics, discussed his experience with ineffective cancer treatments did Macinley consider how she could add to the field. Knowing first-hand the loss of a relative due to cancer, she decided to conduct her own investigation on the subject.
As GoodNewsNetwork reports, Butson tried to begin her research by reading scientific journals. However, making sense of the medical jargon turned out to be a challenge. So, Butson turned to ‘YouTube University’ to discover videos that taught her how to read scientific journals.
As she became familiar with the process, Butson found a key piece of information: copper has been shown to be dramatically more effective at protecting skin from radiation compared to lead. One day, during class at her high school in Wollongong, New South Wales, Butson had a “eureka” moment.
She and her 10th-grade class members were watching a film on medieval wars when she spotted the scaled patterns of armor. Equipped with fresh inspiration, she began designing an “armor” made out of copper. To learn how to weave together tiny scales, Butson once again returned to YouTube. Before long, the Australian teen made her own flexible scale-mail using high-density copper plating. She calls the result SMART Armor: Scale Mail for Radiation Therapy.
When the armor was tested in a laboratory setting, the invention reduced surface exposure to excess radiation by an astounding 75%. For her work, Butson won first place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair – she became one of the first Australians to do so in its 68-year history.