Sahithi Pingali, a Class 12 student at the Inventure Academy, got three special awards for her paper on monitoring freshwater bodies.A Class 12 student from Bangalore will soon have a minor planet named after her.The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which reserves the right, decided to bestow the honour upon Sahithi Pingali after she was among the top 3% at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this year. The ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. It was held between May 14 and May 19 in California, United States.Pingali, a student at the Inventure Academy, got three special awards for her paper, “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies”. She has developed an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit that obtains data through crowdsourcing.
Reaching to this height was no cake walk for Sahithi who first began researching the types of pollutants found in several lakes across Begaluru. She presented her research paper ‘An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies’ at the ISEF, the world’s largest pre-college science exhibition.Sahithi’s paper competed against 2,000 other finalists and won her the top prize under the sustainability solutions category.The research paper detailed Sahithi’s work in developing a data crowdsourcing system for her research. A smartphone app and an amateur lake monitoring kit were developed by Sahithi. It tapped into concerned people willing to obtain data for her research into the water pollution in the city. However, Sahithi’s prize was not just the top honour at ISEF.The Lincoln Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) holds the rights to name minor planets. It offered her recognition after noticing her work.In total, the entire Indian team at ISEF won 21 awards, but Sahithi got the best prize by far – a minor planet in the Milky Way bearing her name.Sahithi, who is currently pursuing an internship at the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan, believes this will help her improve the method and techniques she used to detect water pollution.Earlier this year, she got a Gold Medal at ISWEEEP (The International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project) Olympiad at Houston (U.S.) for her work on Varthur Lake.