A Class 12 student from Bangalore will soon have a minor planet named after her, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.
The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which reserves the right, decided to bestow the honour upon Sahithi Pingali after she was among the top 3% at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this year. The ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. It was held between May 14 and May 19 in California, United States.
Pingali, a student at the Inventure Academy, got three special awards for her paper, “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies”. She has developed an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit that obtains data through crowdsourcing. She was also awarded “overall second place” in the Earth and Environment Sciences category.
“I definitely didn’t see this coming,” she told The Hindu. “I was expecting one special award at most. I haven’t yet digested the fact that I have a planet named after me.” The Indian contingents got 21 awards in total.
Earlier, she got a gold medal at the International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project Olympiad at Houston for her research on Bengaluru’s infamous Varthur Lake, which has been spilling toxic foam on to the streets every few months. Environmentalists blame the practice of dumping untreated sewage and pollutants in the lakes for the problem.