Srishti Asthana named among the top 15 finalists in Google Science Fair 2013

Chandigarh girl’s search for success with Google


  • Srishti Asthana, daughter of Punjab IGP S.K. Asthana, named among the top 15 finalists in Google Science Fair 2013
  • Srishti Asthana, a XI standard student from Millenium School, Mohali in Punjab. She made it to the final level of the Google Science Fair, 2013
  • Her project on a Green way to degrade detergents in waste water  beat out more than 1000 competitors in the 15 to 16 years age group from 120 countries.
  • Her topic is Solar Light Assisted nanoZnO Photo Catalytic Mineralization- The Green Technique for the Degradation of Detergents
Shrishti Asthana, Indian Student in Google Science Fair's Final Round

Shrishti Asthana, Indian Student in Google Science Fair’s Final Round

Srishti Asthana, 15, of Chandigarh will showcase her science project, which could be potential green method for treating wastewater containing detergent, at the Google headquarters in the US.

Competing in Google Science Fair, 2013, the Class-11 student from The Millenium School, Mohali, is one of 15 finalists chosen from nearly 1,000 contestants across 120 countries.

Now she faces 15 finalists chosen from all over the world in the battle for the top honour. In September she takes her project to Google Headquarters at Mountainview California in the USA for the last round of the competition.

She claims that her project (solar light assisted nanoZnO photo catalytic mineralisation, green technique for the degradation of detergents) has short treatment time, is less costly and has less exposure involved for workers.

The idea for the project struck her on a field trip to Ludhiana, when disturbed by the dire state of industry’s waste disposal, she asked the textile owners why didn’t they find a way to treat the dye water. “They counter-questioned me if there was method to treat detergent water,’ she said.  Thus began her journey to find a green solution to turn detergent water from industrial waste into an eco-friendly alternative.

To treat waste containing detergents is difficult, since detergents are rugged and resistant to degrading,” Srishti, who wants to pursue a career in pure sciences, said. She will be flown with a guardian to Google’s Mountain View headquarters in the US on September 23 to present her project to an international panel of esteemed scientists for the final round of judging. The Grand Prize is a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with the National Geographic Expeditions and $50000 in scholarship funding and more.

Srishti has won many prizes:

  1. In the 10th grade she qualified for the National Standard Examination in Biology
  2. In 2012 she made it to Stage 1 of the International Biology Olympiad
  3. In 2013 she got 8th rank at the Indian Philosophy Olympiad.

Her teachers describe her as a brilliant student. Srishti says that it took almost a year of hard work to develop the project and she is grateful to her parents and teachers for their help. She wants to become a research scientist.

Google Science Fair is an online science competition sponsored by Google, Lego, CERN, National Geographic and Scientific American and started in January 2011. It is open to students in the age bracket of 13 to 18 around the globe who formulate a hypothesis, perform an experiment and present their results.

The biggest challenge in the project,” said Srishti, “was to carry out the research. It’s a tough competition but I am geared up for it.

The Project in her words:

Wastewater containing detergent from industrial and domestic source creates huge pollution in our cities. To treat this waste containing detergents is quite difficult since detergents are quite rugged and resistant to degrade. I wish to find out a potential Green method to treat this polluted waste.

Nano ZnO assisted photo catalytic degradation using solar light is emerging as new green option for the treatment of contaminated water.

The advantages of my method are summarized as follows: fast reaction, short treatment time, less costs, less exposure for workers, complete reduction pathway to non-toxic end products is possible and less equipment.

Preliminary studies have shown that the proposed method is quite effective in remediating the waste water. After lab synthesis of nanoZnO characterization has been done using various methods such as XRD (X-Ray Diffraction).

I propose to design a batch reaction system demonstrating that the representative detergent Cetyl Pyridinium Chloride can be effectively degraded by using nanoZnO. Mineralization of the detergents would be confirmed using UV spectrum and COD determination.

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