Investing in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) pays big dividends for everyone. If you don’t believe it, read about these amazing inventions displayed by young scientists at recent science fairs.

Nathan Han celebrating with others (Courtesy of Intel/Chris Ayers)
Nathan Han celebrates his science fair win. (Courtesy of Intel/Chris Ayers)

Conquering cancer: Nathan Han, 15, from Massachusetts, developed an innovation that aids in the fight against cancer. He won first place at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest. Han invented a software tool that studies gene mutations and could help doctors more accurately identify breast cancer threats.

Lash Laker with his science fair exhibit (AP Images)
Lash Laker’s invention might change farming. (AP Images)

Seeding the future: Lash Laker, 8, of Idaho, built a tool that could help farmers grow better crops in arid climates. His “SeedBoard,” built from cardboard and other recycled materials, helps seeds remain moist, even in dry conditions. Laker’s invention won the national 2014 I Cubed (I3) Challenge.

Émer Hickey, Ciara Judge and Sophie Healy-Thow (Google Science Fair)
Young scientists Émer Hickey, Ciara Judge and Sophie Healy-Thow (Google Science Fair)

Breadbasket bacteria: Émer Hickey, 17, Ciara Judge, 16, and Sophie Healy-Thow, 17, of Ireland, might help solve the world’s food crisis. They won the 2014 Google Science Fair grand prize for discovering that the bacteria diazotroph sucks nitrogen into soil. Watch the young women explain how it speeds up the germination process and increases cereal crop yields.