Home HEADLINES Odisha girl Lalita wins top award at Google Science Fair

Odisha girl Lalita wins top award at Google Science Fair

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
California, Sep 22:

Thirteen-year old Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai from Odisha won the Community Impact Award at the prestigious Google Science Fair competition in California today. The young scientist’s project iwas on development of low-cost bio-absorbent based on corn cobs.

Lalita Prasida Sripad Srisai from Odisha who won the community impact award at the Google science fair in California, USA
Lalita Prasida Sripad Srisai from Odisha who won the community impact award at the Google science fair in California, USA

The DPS Damanjodi student in Koraput has created a project which aims to clean waste water by running it through layers of corn cobs, powdered corn cobs, activated charcoal made from corn cobs and fine sand. This is a cost-effective and simple technique which is useful in immobilizing contaminants in domestic and industrial effluents, and in ponds, reservoirs and water tanks.

“One day I made a hole at the centre of a cob using a screwdriver. Then I poured some dirty water inside the hole and collected the extract from the other end. Surprisingly, the collected extract was devoid of all the suspended particles,” Lalita told Google in an interview.

“This inspired me to search, examine and experiment whether we could clean wastewater by using corn cobs. This could reduce waste by using another form of waste. Luckily, I was supported by my mentor to plan the project in detail and encouraged to participate in this year’s Google Science Fair,” she added.

The award with cash prize of 10,000 USD has been sponsored by Scientific American. Lalita will be further supported for one year by the organisation to build on her project. She has won the award in 13-15 years age group.

The winners of the fifth annual Google Science Fair were announced live from Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. The event was hosted by Dereck Muller, who created the science and engineering channel Veritasium.

The Final Ceremony can be seen in Google and Youtube from 11.30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST) today onwards.

Lalita with her award
Lalita with her award

The Google Science Fair is an online science competition sponsored by Google, Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific American. Entries are judged on eight core criteria, which include the student’s presentation, question, hypothesis, research, experiment, data, observations and conclusion.

The grand winner from US is 16 year-old Olivia Hallisey, who beat 22 other finalists to win the prize for her project on developing a fast, cheap and stable test for Ebola virus. She received a cash prize of $50,000 as scholarship.

The science fair is meant to challenge the next generation of young scientists, inventors, and innovators from around the globe.