A Reception was hosted by the Ambassador of India Nirupama Rao, in association with Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution on June 10, 2013 at the Embassy of India for the Introduction of the Spark!Lab India Project.
During the event, Ambassador Nirupama Rao announced the launching of the Young India series by the Indian Embassy, where a series of events would be organized targeting the younger generation. Ambassador Rao felicitated the special guest Mr. Ritankar Das. Ritankar Das, the youngest University Medalist (top graduating senior) at U.C. Berkeley (over 6000 graduates) in at least a century. In her commendation, Ambassador Rao said, “It is indeed a great pleasure to note that Ritankar has become the youngest graduate topper of the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, in more than a century. We feel extremely proud to know your exceptional achievements as a young Indian American as, at the age of 18, you are the youngest University Medalist at U.C. Berkeley, amongst over 6000 graduates, and that too with a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in creative writing with 3.99 GPA. Your wider interests and initiative resulting in the founding of Berkeley Chemical Review research journal and the 'See Your Future' non-profit organization to promote science as a career among school students, and your poetry book 'Silent Moon' are commendable.” Ambassador Rao wished him all the best for his next move to Oxford University to pursue a Master's degree in biomedical engineering with a fully funded Whitaker Fellowship and then on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Ritankar has been admitted to the chemistry Ph.D. program.
Ambassador Rao said that the Spark!lab India projects brings the best of innovation and cooperation between India and the US.
A presentation about the Spark!Lab India was made by Mr. Arthur Molella, Director and Ms. Tricia Edwards, Education Specialist Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation proposes to open a network of hands-on invention activity spaces, called Spark!Labs, throughout India. Operating as a public-private partnership (PPP), the Lemelson Center seeks to open 10 pilot Spark!Lab 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 cohort of 10 labs throughout the country, while training science, education, and museum professionals in the Spark!Lab philosophy and methodology and identifying leaders to spearhead the expansion of the network from 10 to 100 labs. Activities will incorporate relevant topics and themes to the individual communities in India where Spark!Labs will be located.
This was followed by an interactive Q& A session. (Complete details of the Spark!lab project are enclosed)
Lemelson Center also organized a mini Spark!lab in the Embassy where the children, who were the special invitees for the Young India Series, played and learned about Science and scientific principles.