US President Barack Obama praises Indo-American kid on White House Astronomy Night

Washington: American President, Barack Obama, has praised an Indian-American astronomy enthusiast, Pranav Sivakumar, who has the honor of being the first individual to be a global finalist in Google Science Fair twice.

Sivakumar, who is just 15 years of age, took part in the White House Astronomy Night organized by the American president. The latter told that Sivakumar had an adventurous spirit. President Obama said that there were young Americans present in the audience with similar kind of adventurous spirit while addressing an audience that included teachers, students and Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator at the White House Astronomy Night.

When Sivakumar was six years old, he came across an encyclopedia of famous scientists somewhere in the house. Obama said Sivakumar thought that the book was just lying around there. Probably his parents wanted him to discover the book. He’s been interested in outer space ever since.

A student at the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, Sivakumar is one among the 20 teenagers worldwide to be a finalist in the search giant’s online science and technology competition.

For many years, each Saturday his parents took him to an astrophysics lab to attend ‘Ask-A-Scientist’ class. Soon he collaborated with researchers he encountered there to study the ‘gravitational lensing of quasars.’ Sivakumar has identified 109 new high probability quasar candidates.

He bagged the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award for researching celestial objects namely quasars that look very bright in the night sky.

Sivakumar also had the honor of being a runner-up in the 2013 National Spelling Bee. Currently, he is attempting to discover galaxies having lots of dark matter along with a University of Chicago professor.

Obama went on to say that more young people need to be motivated to be curious about science and begin that lifetime journey to become the next great astronaut, engineer, inventor or scientist. After his speech, Obama interacted briefly with Ahmed Mohamed, the student from Texas, who was arrested for getting a homemade clock to class.