Austin Wang

Speaker, Austin Wang
Student and researcher
  • Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (2016)
  • Grand prize at the International Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge (2015)
  • “Best Project,” Canada-Wide Science Fair (2015)

In addition to his scientific exploits, Austin is an accomplished pianist, cellist, flutist, saxophonist and composer who won the International Golden Key Piano Composition Competition in 2014.

The renaissance scientist

At an age when many of his classmates were thinking about prom dates and college applications, Austin Wang was trying to figure out how waste water could be harvested for energy. Fascinated by microbial fuel cells, which convert organic energy into electric energy, Austin started thinking about how to use waste water to create electricity while attending David Thompson Secondary in Vancouver. He theorized that genetically-modified microorganisms – in this case, E. coli bacteria – could generate electricity by cleaning waste water, which would have great potential to reduce carbon emissions and provide power for developing nations. With help from professors and Ph.D students at UBC, he found out he was right. For his work, he won top prize (and $75,000) at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the largest international pre-collegiate science fair in the world. Austin is currently an undergraduate student at Princeton University, where he is combining his love for biology and biological engineering with an interest in computer science.
“The answers that I found to my questions at the beginning just sparked more questions, and I just kept asking questions and doing more and more research until I got to this point.”
Austin to the CBC
  • Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (2016)
  • Grand prize at the International Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge (2015)
  • “Best Project,” Canada-Wide Science Fair (2015)

In addition to his scientific exploits, Austin is an accomplished pianist, cellist, flutist, saxophonist and composer who won the International Golden Key Piano Composition Competition in 2014.