Bangalore whizkid wins YouTube science contest


Bangalore : Eighteen-year-old engineering student Sachin Kukke of Bangalore is the only Indian to win the global YouTube Space Lab science competition from the Asia-Pacific region, the world’s leading online video portal said Wednesday.

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“Sachin of BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, is the regional winner from India in the 17-18 year-old category for his experiment, which aims to measure the thermal conductivity of ferrofluids in microgravity,” the US-based YouTube, a subsidiary of global search engine Google, said in a statement here.

The contest for 14-18 year-olds was to design a science experiment that can be performed in space.

Sachin’s experiment was short-listed with that of nine other Indian students in the top 60 who participated from 80 countries in the contest, conducted in October 2011 by YouTube in partnership with global PC maker Lenovo and the Vienna-based Space Adventures, which organised flights for the world’s first private space explorers.

Sachin will join five other winners from different geographical regions in Washington DC March 22 to take the zero gravity flight and participate in a series of events, including a special tour of the Udvar-Hazy air and space museum at Dulles and an awards ceremony at the Newseum.

“This is like a dream come true. I never ever imagined that I would get to experience zero gravity in my life. I had hopes of making it to the final six but I was not so sure. I am very excited to win this and I am looking forward to meeting the other finalists and experiencing the zero gravity flight,” Sachin told reporters after Google India facilitated him in this tech hub.

In honour of his achievement, Lenovo will present the Bangalore lad its IdeaPad Ultrabook at the awards ceremony.

Of the five other winning finalists, two in Sachin’s category (17-18 year-olds) are Amr Mohamed from Egypt and Emerald Bresnahan from the US. The remaining three in 14-16 year-olds category are Patrick Zeng and Derek Chan from New Zealand, Laura Calvo and Maria Vilas from Spain and Dorothy and Sara Ma from the US.

“An India finalist in such a global science contest indicates the zest with which Indians foster their passion for science. We believe competitions like this provide students with an opportunity to consider science as a career aspiration,” Lenovo India marketing director Shailendra Katyal said on the occasion.

The six winners were selected by about 150,000 YouTube users worldwide by voting for their favourite experiment.

Of the six finalists, two global winners (one team from each of the two age groups) will be announced at the awards ceremony and will, later this year, have their experiments performed onboard the International Space Station (ISS) 250 miles above earth and streamed live on YouTube as a global event to celebrate science and space.

“The two global winners will get to choose a unique space experience: a trip to Japan to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS, or once they are 18-years old, a one-of-a-kind astronaut training experience in Star City, Russia, the training centre for Russian cosmonauts,” Google India country marketing head Nikhil Rungta said.