Spark! Labs go to India
PHOTOGRAPHS KIND COUR TESY: INDIAN EMBASS Y
Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao with
Indian-American schoolchildren who attended
an exhibition of Spark! Lab equipment.
At the event where she felicitated Ritankar Das, Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao also launched the
Spark! Lab India projects, in association
with the Lemelson Center for the Study of
Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
The Spark! Lab India projects, Rao said,
bring out ‘the best of innovation and coop-
eration between India and the US.’
Arthur Molella, director, Lemelson
Center, and Tricia Edwards, education spe-
cialist at the center, gave a presentation
about the projects.
The Lemelson Center proposes to open a
network of hands-on invention activity
spaces, called Spark! Labs, throughout
India and operating as a public-private
partnership. The Center envisages opening
10 pilot sites, with the goal of jumpstarting
an Indian-run network of up to 100 labs.
Over the next two years, the Lemelson
Center will work to establish the initial 10
labs throughout India, while training science, education, and museum professionals
in the Spark! Lab philosophy and methodology and identifying leaders to spearhead
the expansion of the network.
Molella and Edwards said the activities
will incorporate relevant topics and themes
to the individual communities in India.
With 100 labs in operation, more than 3
million children could participate in Spark!
Lab’s hand-on invention activities annually.
The activities are modeled on the highly
successful program operating in the US
since 2008, Molella said. These labs, he
said, would encourage inventive creativity
in India’s young people and help to create
its next generation of innovators.
Ambassador Rao salutes whiz kid Ritankar Das
bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in cre-
ative writing with 3.99 GPA.’
Rao added, ‘Your wider interests and initiative resulting
in the founding of Berkeley Chemical Review research
journal and the See Your Future nonprofit organization to
promote science as a career among school students, and
your poetry book Silent Moon are commendable.’
She said told the guests, ‘In this span of just 18 years, he
has been able to achieve so much, and he has put all of us
to shame after coming out with such flying colors at UC
Berkeley and breaking all records over a century. He has
not only brought glory to this country, but also to his moth-
Ritankar is headed to Oxford University in the United
Kingdom, to pursue a master’s in biomedical engineering
with a fully funded Whitaker Fellowship. Then, he will
study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where
he has been admitted to the chemistry PhD program.