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Curiosity and science give wings to Odisha’s Google girl

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By NewsGram staff writer

Bhubaneswar: Despite being a Class 9 student, she nourishes a passion for serving the society through scientific research of mass interest. For her, age is never a bar for quenching libido science as if inspired by the Wings of Fire and following the footsteps of missile man APJ Abdul Kalam.

Bestowed with a gift of curiosity, the roadside corn fields filled Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai’s head and heart to go in for a project to develop a low cost water purifier.

The 13-year-old student from Odisha’s tribal dominated Koraput district has earned laurels by winning the ‘Community Impact Award’ at the prestigious Google Science Fair 2015 held in California recently.

“I’m fond of visiting villages and observing the lifestyle of the villagers. While going on the road, I often see corn cobs lying scattered over. An idea dawned on me that they could be of immense use to society. I related it to waste water purifying and later approached my school teacher Pallavi,” the Google girl said.

Her prized project ‘cleaning waste water with Corn cobs’ is basically a cheap and raw method of purifying waste water released by domestic and industrial sources.

The student of Damanjodi Delhi Public School feels elated at getting an award from an international platform as it, according to her, would definitely help in carving out her future career and play a big role in paving a path for her to pursue scientific research.

“It’s quite a big moment for me to get an award from an international platform. It would decide my future career, play a big role to boost my curious bend of mind and pursue scientific research for the mass benefit of society,” she said.

Father of the Indian Green Revolution MS Swaminathan is her icon, and the Google girl says she always dreams of going in for such research work that would better up our agrarian society.

Averring that invention knows no age bar, Lalita said curiosity in one’s self should never be curbed and one needs a true mentor to reach the destination.

“I feel that innovation has no age limit. If you have keen interest and are patted by a good mentor, the curiosity in you gets a shape and figure in one day or other,” Lalita said in her message to fellow students.

The girl has not only bagged $10,000 (Over Rs.6,60,000) as prize money, but also would be supported for one year by Google to work on her project.

While Google Science Fair competition received entries in 15 languages, 90 regional and 20 global finalists were shortlisted.

The Science Fair is an online competition which has been sponsored by companies like Google, CERN, Lego, National Geographic and the Scientific American, said sources.

Started in 2011, the Google initiative covers scientifically tempered children between the age of 13 and 18 the world-over.

 

(IANS)

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Team Led by Indian-Origin Scientist Converts Plant Matter Into Chemicals

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A team led by an Indian-origin scientist from Sandia National Laboratories in California has demonstrated a new technology based on bio-engineered bacteria that can make it economically feasible to produce chemicals from renewable plant sources.
Lignin, a tough plant matter, is converted into chemicals. Pixabay

A team led by an Indian-origin scientist from Sandia National Laboratories in California has demonstrated a new technology based on bio-engineered bacteria that can make it economically feasible to produce chemicals from renewable plant sources.

The technology converts tough plant matter, called lignin, for wider use of the energy source and making it cost competitive.

“For years, we have been researching cost-effective ways to break down lignin and convert it into valuable platform chemicals,” Sandia bioengineer Seema Singh said.

“We applied our understanding of natural lignin degraders to E. coli because that bacterium grows fast and can survive harsh industrial processes,” she added in the work published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America”.

Lignin is the component of plant cell walls that gives them their incredible strength. It is brimming with energy but getting to that energy is so costly and complex that the resulting biofuel can’t compete economically with other forms of transportation energy.

A team led by an Indian-origin scientist from Sandia National Laboratories in California has demonstrated a new technology based on bio-engineered bacteria that can make it economically feasible to produce chemicals from renewable plant sources.
Scientists successfully convert plant matter into chemicals. Pixabay

Once broken down, lignin has other gifts to give in the form of valuable platform chemicals that can be converted into nylon, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other valuable products.

Singh and her team have solved three problems with turning lignin into platform chemicals: cost, toxicity and speed.

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Engineering solutions like these, which overcome toxicity and efficiency issues have the potential to make biofuel production economically viable.

“Now we can work on producing greater quantities of platform chemicals, engineering pathways to new end products, and considering microbial hosts other than E. coli,” Singh (IANS)

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