Your Web IQ Can Do More Than Cure Cancer

By: Jack Andraka

Information Access , Specialist

“There are millions of people like me. And so, if you can just go on Google and Wikipedia and find these amazing articles, we can have this great innovation.” – Jack Andraka

According to the International Telecommunications Union, in 2013 it is estimated that only 39% of the total world's population is using the internet. In the developed world 77% of the population is using the internet, while in the developing world only 31% are.

With a computer and access to the internet you can research, discover, get inspired, build, invent, and create remarkable innovations that can change the world. Sites like Google will help you find anything. If you are looking for a list of social networking websites, Wikipedia will show you a complete list of those including date launched, number or users, registration information and much more. Sites like RUSA - References and User Services Association will give you all the free reference websites. The great part is, you just need to be curious with access to the web.

With only 39% of the world's population using the internet, don't you wonder what innovation lies ahead for us? What will your discovery be?

By scouring the internet for freely available information, mostly through Google and the references on Wikipedia, at age 15 I invented an inexpensive and sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid and early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. I achieved this by searching on Google and asking questions and the more I searched the more information I found. I want anybody to be able to achieve this kind of success in their own work – that's why open access to vital information is so important!

Occasionally I would run into an article with a “paywall," meaning that it would cost money to access it. To help with this effort, I joined the organization Team Open to support open web access initiatives. Visit our website to find out more!


Below is a list of supporting documents and different ways people can help:

PRIORITY #1: Donate to Creative Commons

Creative Commons needs your help to provide free and open content.

PRIORITY #2: Google A Day In The Classroom

A Google A Day provides daily trivia questions on a variety of subjects. Solving these questions is a fun and engaging way to teach students important online research skills.

PRIORITY #3: Google Search Education Lesson Plans

With more and more of the world's content online, it is critical that students understand how to effectively use web search to find quality sources appropriate to their task.

  • Jack Andraka, born in 1997 in Crownsville, Maryland is an inventor, scientist and open web search guru. At the age of 15, Jack invented an inexpensive and sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid and early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. After a close family friend died of pancreatic cancer, Jack (then a ninth grader) became interested in finding a better early-detection diagnostic test. He learned that the lack of a rapid, low-cost early screening method contributed to the poor survival rate among individuals with pancreatic cancer. After thinking further about the problem, he came up with a plan and a budget to put his ideas in motion. A great deal of his success relied on openly available research on the internet, so he has become a champion for open access of information. He hopes to inspire other youth to get involved in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics]. Jack is a Life Scout, enjoys white water rafting, origami and watching Glee.



Dec. 9, 2015

new open access journal

Oct. 14, 2015

HUGE NEWS! In 2016 there will be a new quarterly, peer-reviewed, online oppen access journal called the Bioengineering & Translational Medicine which will highlight scientific and technical breakthroughs currently in the process of clinical and commercial translation!

To learn more see this article: or visit or by email

The Hidden Innovator

Sept. 26, 2015

Tapping into the hidden innovator: Open Access

April 15, 2015

I was invited by the Chopra Foundation to talk about my invention and the importance of open access!

Published Author

March 10, 2015

My book entitled, Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World (available on Amazon) is also accompanied by a educator's reading guide (available here)


For the first time, teen innovator and scientist Jack Andraka tells the story behind his revolutionary discovery. When a dear family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, Jack was inspired to create a better method of early detection. At the age of fifteen, he garnered international attention for his breakthrough: a four-cent strip of paper capable of detecting pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers four hundred times more effectively than the previous standard.

Jack's story is not just a story of dizzying international success; it is a story of overcoming depression and homophobic bullying and finding the resilience to persevere and come out. His account inspires young people, who he argues are the most innovative, to fight for the right to be taken seriously and to pursue our own dreams. Do-it-yourself science experiments are included in each chapter, making Breakthrough perfect for STEM curriculum. But above all, Jack's memoir empowers his generation with the knowledge that we can each change the world if we only have the courage to try.

Timeline of Honors & Awards

Jack’s groundbreaking results have earned him international recognition, most notably a 2014 Jefferson Award, the nation’s most prestigious public service award, 1st place winner in the 2014 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, the 2012 Intel ISEF Gordon Moore Award, the 2012 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award, a spot on Advocate Magazine’s 2014 40 under 40 list, a fellowship as a National Geographic Explorer, and he’s also the 2014 State of Maryland winner of the Stockholm Water Prize. 

In addition, Jack was First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the 2013 State of the Union Address. He speaks to audiences of youths and adults all across the globe about his personal story, research, and his ideas for STEM education reform. He has been featured in several documentaries including Morgan Spurlock’s Sundance Film Festival entry, “You Don’t Know Jack,” Linda Peters’ award winning film, “Just Jack,” as well as ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, BBC, Fox, and radio, newspaper, and magazine articles around the world

ted talks

Jack Andraka is invited to speak at TED 2013


Jack at TEDx UNPlaza 2013


Jack at TEDx OrangeCoast 2012

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