A 17 year old high school student, Rob Sobelman, has used a four-week stint at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to dramatically improve the process of making carbon nanotubes.
Carbon nanotubes have, for the last 20 years, been made at temperatures between 850 and 950 degrees Celsius. Rob questioned the temperature and began testing different temperatures. At 1,000 degrees Celsius, Rob found that significantly more nanotubes were produced and they were longer and straighter. This has major benefits in using the nanotubes computers and transistors.