Hackney student's urine project could see her crowned UK Young Scientist of the Year

Young scientist Jess Kerbiou, 13.

Jess Kerbiou, 13, looked at urine pH over a number of days using urine dipsticks. She wanted to wanted to explore how urine pH and diet are linked to get a better understanding of what makes urine pH change. - Credit: Courtesy of the Kerbiou family.

A Hackney student has reached the finals of a nation-wide science and engineering competition after her project on urine impressed the judges. 

Jess Kerbiou, 13, who is home-schooled in Hackney, has reached the finals of the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition. 

The teenager will find out if she is the winner of the UK Young Scientist of the Year award at a digital event held on June 23.  

Chief Executive Dr Hilary Leevers of EngineeringUK, which leads The Big Bang competition, said: "Jess really impressed the judges with her project and we’re excited to see how she does at the UK finals.

"It is a huge achievement to progress to this stage of the competition and Jess should be incredibly proud to take up his place and compete this year.”

Jess's project for the competition saw her investigate the pH of her and her families urine day by day, looking at how urine samples were affected by food and drink. 

One of the young scientist's aims was to see if her father's ketogenic or low-carb diet, which he was on to help with his Type 2 Diabetes, would lead to more acidic urine and to a higher likelihood of medical issues such as kidney stones.

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Dr Leevers added how impressed the competition's organisers were by the entries received this year, despite the competition running a little differently to normal due to the pandemic. 

The chief executive added:"Young people throughout the past 15 months have shown great resilience and determination.

"They have had to manage multiple lockdowns, periods of remote learning and restricted access to equipment. It’s also not been straightforward for them to work with their project teams when allowed to return to school.

"To see the ambition, passion and enthusiasm for their projects at such a difficult time is truly inspiring. 

Jess will find out if she is a successful winner at an online event called Big Bang Digital: Redefine the future.

Aimed at 11 to 14 year olds, the 3-day event runs from June 23-25.

 For more information about The Big Bang Competition and Big Bang Digital visit www.thebigbang.org.uk