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Marian Bechtel, 17-Year-Old Musician, Inspired By Piano To Invent Land Mine Detector

Posted: 04/ 3/2012 12:28 pm Updated: 04/ 3/2012 12:28 pm

Marian Bechtel

Meet Marian Bechtel. She's a 17-year-old pianist, scientist, 2012 Intel Talent Search finalist, and passionate anti-war activist. Oh, and a normal high school student in Pennsylvania.

Bechtel invented a low-cost device that can act as a prototype for a new type of mine sweeper. Using sound waves to determine where explosives are located, the device is a standard metal detector equipped with microphones and a seismic vibrator. Her idea came about when she played certain notes on the piano and noticed that the strings of a nearby banjo would vibrate -- she then decided to investigate whether the same principle could be applied to detecting landmines in warzones.

Bechtel's project was also inspired by her parents' work in geology. "Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines," she told MSNBC. "I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say."

Marian was in good company with her fellow Intel Science Talent Search 2012 finalists. Seventeen-year-old grand Prize winner Nithin Tumma won $100,000 for his pioneering breast cancer research. And although she didn't win, finalist Samantha Garvey, a homeless New York high school student, won a $50,000 scholarship, appeared on "The Ellen Show," and was invited to hear Obama speak at the White House.

Are you inspired by these incredible young scientists? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTeen.

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Filed by Carolyn Gregoire  |