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How many electric eels can power an iPod?

An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 500 volts. -
An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 500 volts.
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Can the natural electricity found in electric eels be converted into enough usable energy to power iPods, BlackBerrys or even laptops?

That is the question posed by Jiwan Toor, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary.

Toor is the second semi-finalist selected in the Choose Science, Go Far, Win Big contest, held by the B.C. government's Year of Science program.

Based on the popular TV show MythBusters, the Year of Science video contest asked young people to upload videos of their ideas for science experiments or myths to be tested.

Toor, one of six eventual semi-finalists, loaded his video idea onto www.youtube.com/yearofsciencebc

"Is there a way to convert this natural, beautiful way of electricity and transfer it into a source that we could use it into to power our devices?" Toor asks in the one-and-a-half-minute video.

Using special abdominal organs, electric eels are capable of producing a shock of up to 500 volts and one ampere of current (500 watts).

Toor's experiment, in which conductors will be put into water to capture the energy the eels produce, will be carried out at the Vancouver Aquarium over the next few weeks.

The grand prize in the contest is a $25,000 scholarship. Semi-finalists automatically receive $250.

"Jiwan's idea raises some interesting points for discussion, and that's what the Year of Science is all about," said B.C. Minister of Science and Universities Ida Chong.

"We want to encourage young people to think about issues of importance to them, ask questions and look for answers. That's how we encourage them to become the next generation of B.C. scientists and innovators that are so important to B.C's future."

For more information on entering the contest, go to www.yearofsciencebc.ca/contest

newsroom@surreyleader.com

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