Sahithi Pingali, a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Bengaluru, Karnataka, will have the distinction of joining the elite club of individuals who have a planet named after them.
Sahithi is a Class 12 student of Inventure Academy, Bengaluru. Her work for Bengaluru’s polluted lakes has been extensive and rewarding. This has earned Sahithi the honour of having a minor planet in the Milky Way galaxy named after her.
According to The Hindu, the honour comes after she excelled in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college science competition. As one of the 2,000 finalists, Sahithi presented her paper “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies” based on her experiences after having developed an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit that obtains data through crowdsourcing.
Sahithi’s app helps people to easily gather water testing data and understand the same. According to India Today, the mobile-based app works with electronic sensors and test strips to let the user collect physical and chemical parameters of a water sample. A colour recognition and mapping software built into the app captures the colour of the test strip to indicate the extent of contamination in water. This crowd sourced data is then uploaded onto a cloud platform. Sahithi calls it a “water health map”.
Sahithi Pingali has also won three other major awards in addition to winning the second prize at ISEF, which was held in Los Angeles.
The planet will be named after Sahithi through the Ceres Connection programme run by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Society for Science and the Public. The organisation decided to name the planet after Sahithi after she won three special awards at ISEF.
Fewer than 15,000 people in the world share the honour of having a minor planet named after them.
Currently, Sahithi is pursuing an internship at the University of Michigan’s Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Centre.
The Logical Indian community congratulates Sahithi for her achievements and thanks her for her research and hard work into solving the pollution problems of Bengaluru’s lakes. We wish her the very best and hope that she continues to make India and the scientific community proud.