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From bioplastic to NASA, this Durgapur prodigy has been there, done that

6 September, 2022 19:15:35
From bioplastic to NASA, this Durgapur prodigy has been there, done that

From Durgapur to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA). Two research papers published in two internationally recognised journals – International Journal of Science and Research and International Journal of Scientific Research in Chemical Sciences. Two published books on Chemistry – ‘Problems in General Chemistry’ and ‘Master ICSE Chemistry Semesters I & II for Class 10’. All of this, and he’s still only 17.

Meet Aparup Roy, the science prodigy from Gopalmath in Durgapur who has astounded the global scientific community with his research in various branches of Chemistry. So much so that in June 2021, Aparup participated in a week-long international Earth Observing Dashboard Hackathon project (EO Dashboard Hackathon) hosted jointly by NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). 

As part of the project, participants had to create virtual teams and solve one of 10 challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic using data from the Earth Observing Dashboard, an interactive resource that provides a unique tool to probe short-term and long-term impacts of pandemic-related restrictions around the world, based on data from Earth observation satellites. Aparup’s efforts to address the challenges of Covid 19 on Earth were highly appreciated. 

Earlier, Aparup’s ground-breaking research paper on the change in contact angle of water at different temperatures caught the attention of scientists at NASA, who invited him to work with them on their journal.  

What went into the making of this prodigy? How could a boy of 16, himself a student of class 10, write guide books to help ICSE board exam candidates decipher the pattern of Chemistry question papers? Well, even as a very young child, Aparup was fascinated by Chemistry, particularly the phenomenon of atoms and molecules and how they combine with different forces and come together to make new molecules. He also developed an interest in quantum chemistry and quantum mechanics. 

Today, the Bangalore-based educational technology company BYJU’S has named Aparupa a ‘Super Student’ in its online students’ blog for his research on bioplastic, viewed as a solution to plastic pollution, which has become a global menace. Can it be cleaned up? The teenager asserts that it is possible, because thanks to his intensive research, he has succeeded in inventing biodegradable plastic, the outcome of a unique method of converting plastic into bioplastic by synthesising it via a special process. And like icing on the cake, Aparup has also succeeded in making a low-cost mosquito insecticide using cow dung. 

Until 2020, Aparup had been conducting all his experiments and research at home, but he realised  he needed a proper lab with more equipment to continue his work. So he wrote to the Head of the Department of Chemistry at NIT Durgapur, who agreed to Aparup’s request provided he got a recommendation letter from his school. The teenager managed to get the letter once the lockdown was lifted in 2020, and he is now continuing his research at a lab in NIT.

Meanwhile, he has become the youngest Indian to be named in the Mathematical Gazette published by Cambridge University Press for solving a hitherto unsolved mathematical problem. He has also been selected to join the Mini-PhD-programme run by Harvard University and MIT graduates to encourage young minds to work on their research. The teenager is already collaborating with their scientists virtually to carry out his research in chemical sciences.

He has received two silver and one bronze medal in the Goprep Goal Talent Search Examination, and aced the prestigious National Science Olympiad exam. Not only is he the school topper but has also scored the highest marks from his city. Not surprisingly, Aparup has cleared the Cyberspace Competition hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with an all-India rank of 11. The challenge for competitors was to provide unique ideas to deal with space debris and suggest ways to make deep space exploration convenient for scientists. 

Aparup is extremely mature for his age. His favourite hobbies include reading, searching for new ideas, discovering planets and asteroids in space, writing books and mentoring young minds. He has already earned the title of India’s youngest scientist and wants to become an ISRO scientist when he grows up.  For him, the sky’s the limit. 

Image Source : India Book of Records

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