India may have found its next international science prodigy—Amal Pushp, an 18-year-old “independent researcher” from Patna with a passion for physics and cosmology studying in Delhi Public School.
Britain’s world-famous Royal Astronomical Society elected the Patna boy as a Fellow after he earned a nomination from Lord Martin Rees, a top British astronomer and Emeritus Professor at the University of Cambridge, who was amazed by the boy’s “scientific output.”
Lord Rees also holds the position of Britain’s Astronomer Royal, an office of great prestige, and advises the British government on astronomical and related scientific matters.
“Amal was elected at the age of 18 (the youngest age possible) and nominated by the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees,” Robert Massey, a deputy executive director at the RAS, told The Telegraph.
According to the RAS, its fellowship is open to applications from anyone above the age of 18 provided that it falls above a certain acceptable standard of intellectual rigour.
“Around half the Fellowship consists of PhD-level professional scientists, a quarter are postgraduate researchers or retired scientists and the remainder are amateur scientists and undergraduates,” says the website.
Amal’s journey began when he sent his research work on black holes to famous Indian physicist Partha Ghose, an erstwhile professor at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata. He found the boy’s research “interesting” and gave his endorsement.
“It was you who was impressed with my research at first and believed in me without knowing me personally and even gave me [an] endorsement, which I will never forget in my life,” wrote Amal, in an email to Ghose, according to the Kolkata-based publication.
Responding to this recent development, Ghose told the publication that he had endorsed Amal for the fellowship because of its content, calling him a “special talent.”
Ghose also hoped that Amal Pushp would obtain admission into a prestigious undergraduate program and maintain these standards of scientific excellence.
Other top physicists, meanwhile, have spoken of their admiration for the content of Amal’s paper, adding that Indian schools must move away from the curse of rote learning. They stress that schools must recognise these exceptionally gifted students and encourage them every step of the way.
“Unfortunately, we have only [a] rigid exam-based entrance routes to our top institutions,” Saurabh Dube, a physicist at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, told The Telegraph. “We don’t have formal mechanisms to take talented people who may not do well in exams.”
For Amal Pushp, meanwhile, the focus will soon shift back to the Class XII board exams he will have to appear for in a few months.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)