LA whiz kid heads to White House Science Fair for second time

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At the 4th White House Science Fair this Tuesday, President Obama will meet some of America’s brightest minds, and probably a robot or two.

One of the young researchers in attendance will be 9th grader Jonathan Berman.

"In my opinion it's the Holy Grail of science fairs," Berman remarked. "Being able to talk to the president about your science is the highest achievement you can get."

Related: Obama to speak at UC Irvine commencement

The LA native may look familiar to the President, after all, this will be their second time meeting at the prestigious fair.

Berman was first invited to the White House in 2010, when he was just 11. He and a team of young researchers identified a kind of padding for sports helmets that would better protect against concussions.

This time, the good natured, curly haired student is hoping to help children with autism. He was inspired by his mother, who has worked with autistic kids for 30 years.

"I thought that if that's something she's dedicated her life to doing, it's definitely something that would be worth pursuing."

For the project, Berman teamed up with 9th grader Maya Flannery  and 10th grader Arjun Mahajan.

They found that many autistic children engage in repetitive behaviors like rocking back and forth or flapping their arms.

"It really impaired their ability to learn and make friends," he explained.

So the group created a motion-sensing bracelet that detects these types of movements and gently vibrates to encourage the child to stop.

Berman says in early tests the bracelet was quite effective.

Besides his passion for science, the 15 year old also loves tennis and the Game Of Thrones series. In fact he's read all the books twice so far.

Like most kids his age, he still doesn't know for sure what he wants to do when he grows up, but he says it'll likely involve some kind of science or math.

"Science is fun, I like being able to discover new things every day."

 

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