Jack Andraka on his Breakthrough and Changing the World

Breakthrough-Jack-AndrakaThe first time I interviewed Jack Andraka he was the youngest guest ever on my Singularity 1on1 podcast. At 16 he already had a mind-blowing list of science awards and inventions, the most notable of which was his nanotechnology-based pancreatic cancer test. So when I discovered that Jack will be speaking at Canada’s best annual conference – IdeaCity, I was determined to kidnap him if I have to, but get a 2nd in-person interview with this brilliant and charming young man.

During our 36 min conversation with Jack Andraka we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: an update on his cancer test development; his inspiring, frank and intimate book Breakthrough; the moment he realized he has the power to change the world; his other passions such as kayaking, hiking, origami, math competitions and video games; the relationship between genius and adversity; bullying, homophobia and suicide; his eagerness to study computational mathematics and bio-engineering at Stanford University; his passion for STEM education reform and open access; fame, patents, ethics and staying grounded…

I owe special debt of gratitude to IdeaCity conference organizers without whom this interview would not have happened!

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more high-quality episodes like this one please make a donation!)

Check out Morgan Spurlock’s You Don’t Know Jack

Jack Andraka, a high school sophomore, has developed a revolutionary new test for pancreatic cancer. The future of science is in the hands of our youth:


Who is Jack Andraka?

Jack-AndrakaJack Andraka was just a fifteen year old Maryland high school sophomore when he invented an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. Now, at eighteen, Jack’s groundbreaking results have earned him international recognition, most notably a 2014 Jefferson Award, the nation’s most prestigious public service award, 1st place winner in the 2014 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, the 2012 Intel ISEF Gordon Moore Award, the 2012 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award, a spot on Advocate Magazine’s 2014 40 under 40 list, a fellowship as a National Geographic Explorer, and he’s also the 2014 State of Maryland winner of the Stockholm Water Prize.

In addition, Jack was First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the 2013 State of the Union Address. He speaks to audiences of youths and adults all across the globe about his personal story, research, and his ideas for STEM education reform. He has been featured in several documentaries including Morgan Spurlock’s Sundance Film Festival entry, “You Don’t Know Jack,” Linda Peters’ award winning film, “Just Jack,” as well as ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, BBC, Fox, and radio, newspaper, and magazine articles around the world. His young adult memoir, Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World is available in bookstores.


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