Who is Gitanjali Rao?
A schoolgirl grade 7 has been awarded the title of “America top Youngest Scientist” at age 11.
Youngest Scientist Gitanjali Rao designed a device that detects lead in drinking water and believes that her technology is fast and cheaper to measure lead in water in comparison to other.
Who are the great parents of Youngest Scientist Gitanjali Rao?
Gitanjali Rao is the daughter of Ram Rao and Bharathi Rao and lives in Colorado but her parents’ origin from Mangalore, India. She shows her device called Tethys at the school Highlands Ranch on Nov.7, 2017. She said she was inspired from the Flint.
How she get this innovative idea?
Gitanjali said “after I learned about Flint, I continued to research and follow it for the next couple of years. Then I saw my parents testing for lead in our water and that I pretty much what sparked the idea. I realized that using test strips would take quite a few tries to get accurate results and I wanted to do something to change this, not only for my parents but the residents of Flint and places like Flint around the world.”
So how the device Tethys works…
The device “Tethys” after the name of the Greek Titan goddess of fresh water, uses carbon-nanotubes tiny cylindrical structures that have a range of unusual properties and innovative applications in the mobile device. She said she was impressed by the MIT project that utilizes them to detect hazardous gases in the air. And so she treated them with water. She said, “my solution uses carbon nanotubes to detect lead in water faster than any other current techniques. It has a carbon-nanotubes sensor, to which special atoms are that react to lead.”
When dipped in contaminated water, the individual atoms react with lead molecules and add resistance to a flow of current in the nanotubes, which is then easily detected by the device. “The amount of resistance is proportional to the amount of lead in the water. The processor includes an attachment that sends the measurements over Bluetooth to a smartphone. The smartphone app that I custom developed captures this data and shows the results on a user-friendly scale.”
The Prize of $25000 for her innovation.
The seventh-grader, who attends the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, originally submitted the idea to the Discovery Education 3M young scientist challenge an annual youth science and engineering competition for middle school students in the US, inaugurated in 2008. She won $25000 prize for such technology. She was also awarded a 3-month mentorship with Kathleen Shafer, a research specialist who develops new plastics technologies. “Gitanjali’s concept was at a very early stage at the beginning of our mentorship. She had thought of this idea earlier this year, only a few weeks before the submission deadline,” Shafer told media.
So what’s her interest after winning an award?
Youngest Scientist Gitanjali Rao’s next move is to watch closely by scientists and medical professionals. She is also paying attention to the Flint crisis and its profound health implications. It takes much work before Tethys might transform from an award-winning project into a viable, universally applicable method. So it’s not likely to make it onto the market any time soon. However, it’s pretty clear from her young age that Rao has time to work on it.