May 06, 2018 / BY AKD

Electric honeycomb: Pakistani Teen Taking Over The Scientific World


Muhammad Shaheer Niazi is only 17 years old and he is already a recognized scientist worldwide. Niazi's research on electric honeycomb was recently published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.

The electric honeycomb is seen when a layer of oil is placed in an electric field between an edgy or pointy electrode and a flat one and the instability introduced by the build-up of ions applies pressure to the surface of the oil. When this phenomenon occurs, a beautiful pattern that looks like a honeycomb, or a stained glass window is observed.

Physicists have known this phenomenon for decades but it was only a high school student from Pakistan who had managed to picture the movement of ions, that forms the honeycomb, besides recording the heat found on the surface of the oil, no one has been able to do this before. Electric honeycomb phenomenon was the problem given to him at the International Young Physicists' Tournament where Niazi along with his team of four members, made up the first-ever team to represent Pakistan at this tournament. After returning from this tournament, he decided to get his research published. It worked for another year to come up with brilliant ideas before his paper was finally accepted for publication. He received the letter of acceptance just days ahead of his 17th birthday last month.

While talking to BBC in an interview, he said that our research is like our child, and we feel out of this world when it is accepted for publication. To prove his findings, he photographed the ions depicting that the ions were moving. He also recorded the heat produced through their movement but this finding needs further study and evidence. He says he had been using the shadowgraphy technique just for fun and eventually ended up using it in his research. He thought that this technique might help him to discover something new and that is how he managed to photograph the shadow of ion wind and added it to his paper.

In a third-world country like Pakistan, not many his age would be interested in learning something other than conventional schooling. According to Shaheer Niazi, the traditional classroom learning would get boring at times and he would indulge in creative projects like these or spent time in reading books he received from his father and grandfather. The whole AKD group is fascinated by Mr. Niazi. For a kid of his age, it is remarkable to have achieved all of this.

Mr. Niazi aims big and says he would love to win another Nobel Prize for Pakistan and AKD would like to wish him the best of luck for all his future endeavors.

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