12th grader Bengaluru girl gets a planet named after her, through a research project


Sahithi Pingali

Sahithi Pingali just wanted to research about water pollutants destroying the natural water bodies of Bengaluru. This led her to conduct a research and present her paper at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), world’s largest pre-college science exhibition. Post this, her life changed. She couldn’t believe that, what started as a research project, would add her to the list of elites with planets named after them.

Pingali’s paper, which was titled ‘An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies’ was selected as the best paper among 2000 other papers under the category of sustainability solutions. The said paper described her efforts focused on developing a data crowdsourcing system for her research. A class 12 student of Inventure Academy, Pingali, developed a smartphone app along with a basic lake monitoring kit which aims at helping and educating residents of Bengaluru to gain information related to city’s water pollution. However, being in the top 3% of the ISEF finalists was not the only prize that Pingali won. She now has the honour of having a planet named after her, a privilege owed by only a handful of people across the globe. The Lincoln Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recognised Sahithi Pingali’s work, and named a minor planet in the Milky Way after her.

PRAJWALA GHATE | TOC

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