The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory has decided to name an asteroid after Indian American Ankush Dhawan, 16, since he finished second in the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Dhawan has been competing in science fairs since he was in seventh grade.
“I’ve always been interested in engineering and the environment. I first was exposed to science from my parents and my brother,” Dhawan said, in a press release issued by MIT.
This year, Dhawan was awarded the Top Young Scientist prize at the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair, and his project was consisted of a kit he created, that tests poisonous arsenic levels in water.
“Arsenic is a poisonous heavy metal that is found in drinking water all across the world. Over 130 million people have suffered from arsenic contaminated water. I developed a method to test arsenic and quantify it at trace levels that is an improvement in cost and effectiveness over current tests methods,” Dhawan said.
He would like to eventually use his arsenic test kit to help people affected by arsenic contaminated water across the world.
“I’ve filed for a (provisional) patent. It highlights my project and a prototype test kit I developed. I would like to potentially commercialize this in the future and get it out to the people who are suffering from arsenic contamination, in areas such as Bangladesh and India. Those are places where contamination is the worst,” he said.
MIT Lincoln Labs numbers asteroids in the asteroid belt but are always looking for names, the first and second place awardees have the honor of getting an asteroid named after them.