Sunday, September 20, 2015

Science Fair Rock Star - Deepika Kurup

This is the last in an eight part series highlighting some of the amazing young women participating in this year's Google Science Fair. (Here are the first, second, third, fourth, fifthsixth and seventh posts.) Each has survived the rigorous regional rounds, and are awaiting the results of the final testing to see who will win this year's prizes. The results will be announced tomorrow, September 21, 2015, and you can be sure I'll be watching!

Deepika Kurup is a bold young woman who is already making a difference in the world. She is another of that new breed of scientist using their knowledge to improve the environment for all. On a trip to India three years ago she was struck by the conditions of many water sources. Since then, she has become an advocate for social justice and an environmental steward. She has been tirelessly researching ways to improve drinking water as well as reaching out to educate others on this important issue.

Her goal seems deceptively simple: develop an environmentally friendly and economically viable technique for water purification. Her method involves both a filtration and photocatalytic process. The two are integrated into one unit, covering a wider variety of purification than each could achieve as separate units. The filtration removes particulate matter, while the photocatalytic composite disc -- a porous disc made from a combination of materials that are readily available -- removes bacteria.

The time to go from dirty to clean water is around 15 minutes, and the cost is well within reach of the poorest people it was intended for. The technology can be used to benefit anyone caught in the midst of an environmental crisis, from people in the most remote villages, as well as those in developed countries suffering from drought or other natural disasters.

It's no surprise that Deepika has already received numerous awards. Earlier this year she was presented with the President's Environmental Youth Award, and named one of Forbe's 30 Under 30. She's currently enrolled as a Freshman at Harvard, and I fully expect to see more of this amazing young woman in the future.

True to form, when asked what advice she would give to others, she replied with more science as a tool for social justice, saying, "We need young scientists to solve these grand challenges, as science has the power to help people find solutions to problems we never thought could be solved."

For more reading, please check out the Google for Education blog post about Deepika Kurup.


  1. Awesome coverage, SRP! Inspiration and hope are what you bring to us in your wonderful blog. Thank you!

  2. Great series of posts I've just caught up on them all!! Also LOVE the name of your blog! It's brilliant!!