Pranav Sivakumar was one among the 20 teens including 7 Americans from across the world to be named a finalist in Google’s online science and technology competition. The Indian-American kid has embarked his name in the golden pages of history by becoming the first person to win second time in the row Global Finalist award in the Google Science Fair 2015. But there was something that added more charm to this great accomplishment. That was ‘the shout out to this kid by US President Barack Obama at White House Astronomy Night where bright young kids were present’.
At the second White House ‘Astronomy Night’, US President Barack Obama addressed hundreds of people including students, teachers and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. The US President said in praise of Indian-American kid, “Pranav was a global finalist in the Google Science Fair – not once, but twice. So you know he’s going to do some important things. Give him a big round of applause.”
As part of being the winner of the Virgin Galactic Pioneer award, he has received a tour to the company’s Mojave Air and Spaceport to meet the company’s engineers and also gets a personal tour of Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship.
Last month he received Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award for researching objects called quasars that appear unusually bright in the night sky. While appreciating Pranav, Obama said, “What children at the age of 6 think about? But Pranav Sivakumar at this age found an encyclopedia about famous scientists which was lying in their house. Since then he got tempted towards the outer space and on every Saturday morning along with his parents drove to astrophysics lab for ‘Ask-A-Scientist’ class. Much before he had formed a team with researchers he met there to study the ‘gravitational lensing of quasars.”
Presently Pranav is working to find galaxies dominated by dark matter with a professor at the University of Chicago. Pranav has also won the Astronomical League’s National Young Astronomer Award, two National Semi-finalist awards in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Age of Pranav is 15 years and he was selected from among 10 students in his age category.
Pranav hails from Obama’s hometown of Chicago. In the recent press conference Pranav said, “It has been an exciting journey.” He added, “I plan to continue this research for many years, hoping to contribute at least a little to our understanding of dark matter and dark energy, which make up 95 percent of the universe and determine its future.”