A teenager has been named UK Young Engineer of the Year after building a machine for testing genes in his basement to find out why his brother had ginger hair.
Fred Turner, 18, wowed judges at the 2013 National Science and Engineering Competition with his homemade Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine.
The machinery usually costs around £3,000 but Crossley Heath Year 13 pupil Fred, from Brighouse, built his from scratch for a fraction of the cost.
It was part of his project entitled ‘Genetics at Home: Building a PCR Machine and Other Equipment for Setting up a Home Genetics’ and allows users to amplify segments of DNA.
He hopes to carry out his own experiements looking at the genetic mutations that led to his mum and brother having ginger hair.
The awards ceremony was held in London and the judging panel included physicist Professor Brian Cox, Nobel Prize winner Sir Tim Hunt, space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and product designer and the Science Museum’s Inventor in Residence, Mark Champkins.
Sir Roland Jackson, chief executive of the British Science Association, which organises the competition said: “This year’s winners are an inspiration to others looking to embark on a career in science and engineering. They have all truly impressed the judges and played their own part within the competition to encourage others to explore their own interest in science and engineering.”
Fred said he plans to let others use his kit to build their own machines.