For the past ninety-two years, Time magazine has chosen “Person of the Year”, but in 2019, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg won. She became the first winner under the age of 25. In connection with the victory of the environmental activist from Sweden this year, the magazine created a new category and for the first time chose the child of the year. The winner was Gatanjali Rao, a 15-year-old IT researcher.
A schoolgirl from Colorado was among the five finalists, who were chosen from more than five thousand nominees. The girl is researching technologies to solve problems ranging from contaminated drinking water to cybercrime and opioid addiction.
In addition, Rao researches artificial intelligence and sensory technologies, and is also the initiator of the mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems around the world. Gatanjali told about all this in an interview with her for Time by the famous actress Angelina Jolie.
When asked “When did you realize that science is your passion?” the girl replied that she was always happy when she managed to help someone. Rao began to realize that she had to benefit people. As early as the second or third grade, Gatanjali realized that she would need to use science and technology for positive social change..
At the age of ten, Rao told her mother that she wanted to do research on carbon nanotube sensor technology in a laboratory to study water quality in the city of Denver. Since no one had previously been able to achieve the most accurate results, Gatanjali tried to solve this problem herself.
According to the girl, most of what her generation has to do is just make sure people do as little damage to the environment as possible.
Rao is currently developing an inexpensive and accurate method for detecting bio-contaminants in water. She hopes the results of her research will help poor people around the world determine what is in the water they use for their daily needs.
Most of the literature read by the young researcher consists of scientific articles from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, the authors of which share their experience in the field of IT technologies.
In addition to research, Gatanjali devotes a lot of time to his hobby.. She is very fond of baking.
The magazine selected the winner, along with Nickelodeon, among US children aged 8-16. A ceremony honoring Gatanjali Rao and other finalists will take place on 4th December. At the end of the ceremony, each of the finalists will become a reporter for Time for Kids magazine.