Mountain View California & Washington Dc (US) , October 22 2015: The 2015 edition of the Google Science Fair, a global online science and technology competition open to individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18, saw Indian kids take away almost a dozen of the top prizes last month. And earlier this week, one of them-- Pranav Sivakumar -- got a special shabaash from US President Barack Obama at the second White House Astronomy Night.
Lalita Prasida Sripada, 13, a Class IX student at Delhi Public School, Damanjodi, a in Koraput district. Odisha, won the Community Impact Award -- $10,000 in funding and a year-long mentorship from Scientific American. Her project was a low cost bio-absorbent water purifier that cleans waste water by flowing it through different layers of Butta (corn cobs), sand and activated charcoal.
Three Indian Pranav Sivakumar, Anurudh Ganesan, Deepika Kurup and won the Virgin Galactic Pioneer award, the Lego Education Builder, National Geographic Explorer award respectively. Pranav 15, of Illinois, created an automated search for gravitationally lensed quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Anurudh , 15, from Maryland, was cited for his project called VAXXWAGON, an innovative eco-friendly, “no ice, no electric” active refrigeration system for last-leg vaccine transportation. Deepika, 17, of New Hampshire, won her award for a novel photocatalytic pervious composites for removing multiple classes of toxins from water.
Girish Kumar, of Singapore and Krtin Nithiyanandam of t UK were honored with the Google Technologist and Scientific American Innovator awards, respectively.
On October 19, on the White House lawns, President Obama drew attention to Pranav Sivakumar saying “Pranav was a global finalist in the Google Science Fair — not once but twice. So you know he’s going to do some important things. Give him a big round of applause."
The President added: “When Pranav was six years old, he found an encyclopedia about famous scientists lying around the house. At least he thinks it was lying around there. Actually, his parents probably were setting it out, hoping he was going to run into it. And he’s been fascinated with outer space ever since. For years, every Saturday morning, his parents drove him an hour to an astrophysics lab for the ‘Ask-A-Scientist’ class. And before long, he teamed up with researchers he met there to study the ‘gravitational lensing of quasars. That is not what I was thinking about at his age!” ( quoted in IANS report by Arun Kumar):