How do you start a science career with a big bang?

GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year, 12-year-old Diya Vincent from Kent in the UK, has done just that…

As a desire for quality, sustainable food grows, many of us toy with the idea of growing our own vegetables at home. An ambitious scientist, inspired by the outdoor fish tank in her grandfather’s tropical home, Diya devised an ingenious way to grow microgreens using an aquarium.

Diya’s endeavour started with experiments on different types of plants and solar panels, and a variety of measurements to minimise observation errors. As a pragmatic scientist accepts, things rarely go smoothly first-time round; Diya faced issues with the amount of energy her solar panel produced and the implications of the varied sizes of plant roots. Solving these issues by creating an electronic circuit to deliver bursts of energy to the pump, and cutting the roots at the point of germination, Diya persevered…and with great success.

Diya’s project reminds us that scientific research often demands an understanding and application of a range of skills and knowledge. From building her electric circuit to testing fertilisers, and monitoring the well-being of her microgreens, Diya’s project demonstrates the interconnectedness of physics, chemistry and biology.

As a young scientist, Diya also reminds us that we often learn far more than expected. “I have learnt how to make fair observations, minimise measurement errors, and compare methods scientifically,” says Diya. “I have also learnt that I have patience and can handle problems by finding solutions and not losing hope about my goal. On the lighter side, I have learnt that I am able to talk in front of a camera!” A lesson reflection that any teacher would be proud of.

With a love of writing, astronomy and photography alongside her passion for science, Diya has started her journey to becoming a research doctor and we are in no doubt that she will reach her goal. The question is, what challenges and ambitions will your students set themselves and who will be entering next year’s Big Bang competition? As Diya encourages, “If they work hard on their project, they can win.”

Oh, and how did the cress she grew in her aquarium taste? Strong and peppery! Congratulations, Diya. Futurum looks forward to hearing about your future successes.

To watch Diya talk about winning project, visit:

To find out more about the Big Bang competition, visit: