5 students from Karnataka among Google Science Fair finalists

5 students from Karnataka among Google Science Fair finalists

Teenage wonders

5 students from Karnataka among Google Science Fair finalists

Two 15-year-olds have not only assured themselves a berth among finalists of the annual Global Google Science Fair, but also have done the State proud by their prodigious scientific talents. 

The twosome of Vineeth Nayak and Aditya Bhargava have developed a bio-sensor that will detect the quantity of hydrazine, a highly toxic inorganic compound in water and help cleanse and make it potable. 

Hydrazine is mainly used as a foaming agent in preparing polymer foams. But significantly used in various rocket fuels and prepare gas precursors used in air bags, besides within both nuclear and conventional electrical power plant steam cycles as oxygen scavenger to control concentrations of dissolved oxygen to curtail corrosion.Besides being eco-friendly, all waste generated from the bio-sensor are biodegradable.

Both are Class X students of Sharadavidyaniketan Public School, Talapady, Mangalore.

Enterprising duo

Vineeth hails from Mangalore and Aditya from Bangalore. They are classmates and close friends. The enterprising duo researched their project under the guidance of professors from Department of Inorganic Physical Chemistry, IISc. 

A beaming Vineeth said, “Since Aditya and I were always inclined towards science and space crafts, we would regularly go through ISRO and NASA sites and learn that there was a problem with hydrazine. We, therefore, decided to take this as the theme of our project to participate in the contest.”

 “We learnt that when space crafts are filled, there is an unavoidable spill and this fuel, which contains hydrazine, gets mixed in water, which may cause liver and kidney problems like cancer and renal failure. We further understood that NASA was grappling with the problem of finding nodes to detect and control it. We spent three months visiting IISc laboratories for the study.”

“In our bio-sensor, we used alcohol de-hydrazines (ADH) enzyme which is cheap and easily available. We also used small quantity of hydrazine and co-enzyme NADH- nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. This sensor detects the presence of hydrazine in contaminated water.”

Among 90 finalists

The duo are among 90 finalists chosen from across the globe. Of the 90, nine are from India and of whom five are from Karnataka. 

The finalists will compete in Google Hyderabad unit early August, after which 15 will be sent to the US for final round.

The duo hope that if they win, NASA and ISRO would use their bio-sensor to solve their problems.