8 Year-Old Mexican Girl Wins Nuclear Sciences Prize For Inventing A Solar Water Heater

The world cannot be improved in an instant, nor do we all have the capacity or knowledge to do so. Yet, no one can deny that we can all do what we know best and make a step toward a change.

Children have the most sincere hearts and visions for the future of our planet.

Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz, an 8-year-old girl from Mexico (Chiapas), has created a solar-powered device that heats water and has been awarded UNAM’s Institute of Nuclear Sciences.

This is the first time the prize has been awarded to a child.

This solar water heater is made entirely from discarded objects, a 15-meter black hose, 10 PET bottles that she painted black, plastic cable ties, a wooden base, black nylon, and recycled glass.

To get a greenhouse effect, she used the glass doors of a broken cooler. The heater has the capacity to heat 10 liters of water to between 350C and 450C.

While most of you might find the invention redundant, in her community, the only source of hot water is cutting up logs.

Yet, this practice releases fumes into the environment and contributes to deforestation.

The bright girl loves participating in science projects and competitions and utilized her knowledge of technology to bring about change, first at home, then in her community, and soon throughout the world.

Her family has installed her device on the roof of their house and it serves to provide hot water for her home. This environment-friendly solar-powered heater can help millions around the world who still depend on wood for heating water.

The little genius said that the project aimed to slow down climate change by reducing the need for low-income people in her rural community to cut down trees for firewood.

“In San Cristóbal it’s very cold most of the year so if people shower with cold water, they can get sick with respiratory illnesses and constantly have to go to the doctor. I want to help with my knowledge because there are a lot of poor people here.”

She added:

“These are low-income people who don’t have the possibility to buy these heaters, so what they do is cut the trees to get firewood, which affects the world through climate change. So, what I did is make this project, this heater, from recycled objects that don’t hurt the environment.” 

Additionally, the young entrepreneur also shows that women and girls can succeed in a male-dominated field, and contributes to the growing number of women and girls in science.

Her father, an indigenous education teacher at a pre-school, is proud of her achievements:

“I’m very proud of my daughter because here in Chiapas it’s very difficult to excel in science. As teachers, we don’t have that specialization and we’re finding out little by little how to teach the young ones. The truth is that we’ve learned a lot with her.”

With such caring and smart children, the future seems bright!