Grosse Pointe North student discovers Flint water solution in chemistry class

Chemistry is more fun than you'll know.

Don a colorful lab coat and watch Grosse Pointe teacher Steve Kosmas show you how to coat a Coke bottle into a silver-coated creative memento and you'll get excited about science too. 

But for 18-year-old Michal Ruprecht, the love of this discipline is deep. 

"We were amazed by how much the people there were excited about our research. I mean it went to show that our research is doing some change and that got a little light bulb turned on in my head."

A bulb Ruprecht saw light up when he presented at a regional American Chemical Society regional meeting. What happened in Flint, the pain families felt, the damage done by the tainted water moved him. Michal decided to use his passion of chemistry and develop a way to remove harmful elements from water. 

What makes this even more extraordinary is he was the only high-schooler at the meeting. Everyone else at that meeting was in college. 

"We eventually created a Ligand, which is a molecule that bonds to other molecules. And it has the potential of removing harmful substances from water. So how we like to think of it is like an arm claw. Our Ligand comes in and it grabs the harmful substance out," he said.

If he was the only high school student at the regionals, why not present his idea nationally with Nobel peace prize winners watching PhDs make their presentations. But who would pay to apply? And what about flying to Boston for the conference? He applied for a grant. 

"I look at the email and it says Congratulations Michal you've won the ACS travel grant in green chemistry and I was like, whoa," he said.

So he's on his way. The only high school student leading his team in a sea of graduate students pushing an idea to help fix the issue in Flint.

"He was the person that basically pushed and said 'How are we going to do this?' And I said you're going way outside the normal scope of high school. Let's research and find out where we can go with this," Kosmas said.

Visit to learn more about his work.