Saturday 19th August 2017
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Deepika Kurup is America’s Top Young Scientist

A dilemma facing the world’s population in the future will be access to clean drinking water. Currently, more than a billion people across the developing world are dealing with this issue.

A 14-year-old South Indian student from New York has been named “America’s Top Young Scientist” for inventing a solar-powered water jug which changes dirty water into purified drinking water.

The young Malayali girl – whose parents hail from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala – came up with the concept whilst on holiday in India. “I witnessed the sight of children drinking water from a stagnant pool. I instantly knew I had to do something,” said Deepika Kurup, who studies in Nashua High School South, in Massachusetts.

Deepika Kurup had to beat 9 finalists in science and mathematics to win $25,000 from Discovery Education and 3M, and after a dynamic five-minute live presentation about the plight of a billion poor people who have no access to clean drinking water, she had the judges convinced.

Her cost-effective and sustainable water-purification system harnesses solar energy to disinfect contaminated water, and is more effective than the currently-available portable purifiers.

Deepika intends to use part of the awarded $25,000 to deploy her prototype in India. 

In the same competition, 13-year-old Anishaa Sivakumar from Pennsylvannia came fourth. While scuba diving in the Bahamas last summer, Anishaa observed the effects of "coral bleaching", which inspired her to do something to help save the coral reefs. Through her research, she found an effective and safe way to protect the world’s coral. She was awarded £1,000 and a trip to Costa Rica.