RIYADH: Abdul Jabbar Al-Hamood, a champion at the Intel ISEF 2015 global science competition, was honored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by naming a recently discovered main belt asteroid after him.
The asteroid has been named “31926 Alhamood”, which was discovered on April 5, 2000 by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research Team, according to a page on website of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Main belt asteroids are found in the region of the solar system falling roughly between the planets Mars and Jupiter, where the greatest concentration of asteroid orbits can be found, according to Science Daily.com and Wikipedia.
The rare honor for Al-Hamood was also announced by the Ministry of Education (MoE).
“Abdul Jabbar Al-Hamood received a unique honor in that NASA decided to name a new planet discovered by its research team at the Lincoln Labs in New Mexico as ‘Hamood’ to acknowledge his rare success in scientific research by winning first place in the global Intel ISEF program on the new scientific revolution in the field of bio-botany,” the MoE said in a tweet.
Al-Hamood, 17, last year won the rare accolade for the best scientific research in the world at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF-2015) in Pittsburgh, and he is the first Saudi student to achieve this position in the global competition.
The Intel ISEF program, by the Society for Science and the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-university science competition, where more than 1,700 students are shortlisted from about 70 countries participating to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in prizes.
Besides being judged the best among the winners in botany, Al-Hamood was also given a special award qualifying him to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden.
Al-Hamood did an experiment using the TRV virus in genetic engineering, and his project was applied to 450 typical plants and more than 50 tomato plants.
Currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Boston University, he is from Qatif in the Eastern Province and attended the Dhahran Ahliyya Schools in Dhahran.
Millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs and the winners of these events go on to participate in SSP-affiliated regional-level fairs from where the best among them win the chance to attend Intel ISEF.