jack andraka – cancer

just jack..

jack andraka 3 bw

just jack realizing he’s touched/touching several lives..

jack ankara bw

Solutions to complex problems can be simple says Jack Andraka

Jack Andraka is a 15-year-old Maryland high school student who has invented an inexpensive and sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid and early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. He recently won the Gordon E. Moore top prize at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as well as the Google Thinking Big Award for the project, addressing a large and seemingly impossible problem and finding an elegant solution with broad impact.
Jack is a member of the National Junior Wildwater Kayak team and has won numerous awards in national and international math competitions.

resonates with scenarios for curiosity app.. no? – 

4:45 – smuggle in an article (sounds like Hewson‘s experiences) – [imagine if the app connected Jack and Angela and/or ? – and we called that school]

May 18, 2012 – Jack was awarded USD 75,000 for his development of a new method to detect pancreatic cancer.

luckily on the 4000th try…


just jack

to me, that’s just kind of socially unacceptable..


march 2014:



we first met Jack via this interview with Melissa Jun Rowley

Melissa is spear rodding Magic Maker (a project to showcase the brilliant youth that are changing the world – imagine if we redefine public ed – to simply facilitate curiosities – and we unleash 7 billion people – any age – to do just that.


Kosta and Jack on Aljazeera:

jack on aljazeera


jack post

Andraka’s breakthrough nearly didn’t happen. He asked around 200 scientists for help with his research and was turned down every time.

Luckily he eventually established contact with a Dr. Anirban Maitra, a Professor of Pathology and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, who provided him with lab space and served as a mentor during the test’s development.

“I soon learned that many of the papers I was interested in reading were hidden behind expensive paywalls. I convinced my mom to use her credit card for a few but was discouraged when some of them turned out to be expensive but not useful to me. She became much less willing to pay when she found some in the recycle bin!” 

“Open access would be an important first step.

…I would love to see research that is publicly funded by taxes to be publicly available. It would make it so much easier for people like me to find the information they need. If I can create a sensor to detect cancer using the Internet, imagine what you can do”.


posted on fb by upworthy (yeah.. we’re missing it.. by not setting 7 billion free):

jack on upworthy


Cory Doctorow mentions Jack at the end of Aaron‘s – the internet’s own boy… in this regard:



science shouldn't be


dec 2014 (video):


Now Andraka has set his sights on developing breakthrough biosensors for health care and biology. Andraka is focusing on tuberculosis diagnostics and environmental screens.

“My vision is a paper strip that would be dipped in water and change color to detect heavy metals, pesticides, or other toxins,” he says. “A smartphone would take a picture of the strip, analyze it, and instantly correlate the amount of color change with how much contaminant is present. I love the outdoors and was on the National Junior Wildwater Kayak team, so problems like water pollution and air quality really interest me.”

Andraka also works with the Right to Research Coalition, advocating for legislation to allow free and open public access to all U.S. federally funded scientific research.

“Currently, you have to pay for most journal articles,” he notes. “These paywalls are a real hurdle if you’re young or disadvantaged. A brilliant discovery may be out there in the brain of someone with inadequate resources. Open access will tap ideas from 5.5 billion people who have previously been cut off.”


release march 10 2015:


book links to amazon


Nikola and Jack 2015:

10 yrs is actually fast.. heart breaker

6 min – meant as a screening test…

11 min – don’t think you need adversity to be creative.. just need to nurture what you have

12 min – on science being like a 2nd home (during depression)

13 min – don’t let a single cruddy moment define you.. don’t let others keep you from your passion

20 min – going to stanford this fall

21 min – on how you switch fields.. i get bored with a subject…  so the internet helps that.

www ness

23 min – all about having this legacy of kids that will go out there and change the world…

23 min – we’re teaching stem in a terrible way.. it’s all about using curiosity… we have this bulimic learning model… we need to learn by doing.. independent projects foster this. we need to go beyond maker movement – bio maker movement

26 min – one of issues i care the most about: open access

mixed message – when science articles cost $35… the next cure to cancer, et al, might be in the mind of someone who can’t afford that.. 5.5 billion people right now can’t access…

27 min – aaron was definitely one of my idols.. access to info should be a basic human right


28 min – i don’t think patents are agains open access – if you’re doing it for research it’s free.. if using for profit.. then have to pay

30 min – on ethics.. have to keep humanity in mind.. and implications of research..

31 min – always be true to yourself.. your gut.. i have this internal mission – researching and helping people

eudaimonian surplus ness



Jorge Soto


Jack speaking at ideacity june 2015



it’s taking forever because of red tape

are we listening…? red tape. cancer.

i’m always trying to make things cheaper and faster..

one of greatest difficulties… science behind paywalls

14 mi – 0.008% of world’s pop can access info

15 min – 85% of pop in knowledge poverty…imagine if we lived in a knowledge democracy… access to science info…

the minds of people must be free.. everyone.. not a select few that have money for journals..

17 min – asked what is the red tape: institutions own samples.. and they cost tons..  sometimes $7000/sample… money and i have to go w/a company to get licenses..


nov 2015 convo w/Adora


jack – I didn’t feel like googling it, so I did an experiment.

adora—I think that’s the only time a human has ever said that.

Alex Lidow – gan – for pills w/xray


this isn’t (doesn’t need to be ) rare.

imagine – facilitating authenticity…

finding all the geniuses inside.. waiting to be seen/heard/loved.


jack et al

and imagine if we called – facilitating curiosity – school – in the city – as the day?

7 billion such researchers/entrepreneurs/happy people.. no?