From bioplastics to NASA, this Durgapur prodigy has been there


ffrom Durgapur to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA). Two research papers published in two internationally recognized journals – the International Journal of Science and Research and the International Journal of Scientific Research in Chemical Sciences. Two published books on chemistry – Problems in General Chemistry and Master ICSE Chemistry Semesters I & II for Class 10. All of that, and he’s still only 17.

Meet Aparup Roy, the scientific prodigy from Gopalmath in Durgapur who has amazed the global scientific community with his research in various fields of chemistry. So much so that in June 2021, Aparup participated in a week-long international Earth Observing Dashboard Hackathon (EO Dashboard Hackathon) project co-hosted by NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).

The project required participants to form virtual teams and solve one of 10 challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic using data from the Earth Observing Dashboard, an interactive resource that provides a unique tool to study short- and long-term impacts of pandemic-related restrictions around the world, based on data from Earth observation satellites. Aparup’s efforts to address the challenges of Covid 19 on Earth were greatly appreciated.

Previously, Aparup’s groundbreaking research on the change in the contact angle of water at different temperatures caught the attention of NASA scientists, who invited him to work with them on their journal.

What went into the making of this prodigy? How could a 16-year-old boy, himself a 10th grade student, write guides to help ICSE exam candidates decipher the chemistry questionnaire pattern? Well, from a very young age, Aparup was fascinated by chemistry, specifically the phenomena of atoms and molecules and how they combine with different forces and come together to form new molecules. He also developed an interest in quantum chemistry and quantum mechanics.

Today, Bangalore-based education technology company BYJU’S recognized Aparupa as a “Super Student” in its online student blog for its research on bioplastics, seen as a solution to plastic pollution that has become a global threat. Can it be cleaned? The teenager claims that it is possible, because thanks to his intensive research he managed to invent biodegradable plastic, the result of a unique method of converting plastic into bioplastic through synthesis in a special process. And as the icing on the cake, Aparup has also managed to produce an inexpensive mosquito insecticide from cow manure.

By 2020, Aparup had been conducting all of his experiments and research at home, but he realized he needed a proper lab with more equipment to continue his work. So he wrote to the head of the Department of Chemistry at NIT Durgapur, who agreed to Aparup’s request, provided he got a letter of recommendation from his school. The teenager managed to get the letter after lockdown was lifted in 2020 and is now continuing his research in a lab at the NIT.

He is now the youngest Indian to be named in the Mathematical Gazette, published by Cambridge University Press, for solving an unsolved mathematical problem. He was also selected to participate in the mini-PhD program run by Harvard University and MIT graduates to encourage young minds to work on their research. The teenager is already working virtually with their scientists to carry out his research in chemical sciences.

He has received two silver and one bronze medals in the Goprep Goal Talent Search exam and passed the prestigious National Science Olympiad exam with top marks. Not only is he the best in school, he also has the best grades in his town. Not surprisingly, Aparup finished the cyberspace competition hosted by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with an all-India ranking of 11. The challenge for the participants was to come up with unique ideas for dealing with space debris and suggesting ways of exploring space practical for scientists.

Aparup is extremely mature for his age. His favorite hobbies include reading, exploring new ideas, discovering planets and asteroids in space, writing books and mentoring young minds. He has already earned the title of India’s youngest scientist and would like to become an ISRO scientist when he grows up. For him the sky is the limit.

Image Source: Indian Book of Records


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