New England Teen Blinds Stephen Colbert with Science

Google Science Fair winner Olivia Hallisey created a 'pregnancy test for Ebola.'

Stephen Colbert received an impromptu science lesson when 17-year-old Olivia Hallisey stopped by the Late Show on Monday night.

Colbert was pretty impressed with the Connecticut native, who recently won the grand prize at the 2015 Google Science Fair by designing a portable and low cost test for Ebola.

Hallisey dazzled the late night host as she described her award winning project, which she likes to call a “pregnancy test for Ebola” because it uses water and a simple color changing process to indicate whether someone has been infected.

“Current tests are expensive and complicated and, most importantly, require refrigeration,” Hallisey said. “This process uses a silk fibroin solution which is just the proteins from silk cocoons.”

“Don’t patronize me, I know what a silk fibroin is,” Colbert joked. “Please, I’m much older than 17.”

After thanking everyone who helped her with the project, including her two mentors at Tufts University, Hallisey received some sage advice from Colbert about where she should place her impressive accolade on her college résumé.

“Here’s a hint: don’t put it first,” Colbert said. “Go swim team then global pandemic.”

Check out more of Hallisey’s interview with Colbert above.


Matt Juul Matt Juul, Digital A&E Writer at Boston Magazine mjuul@bostonmagazine.com


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