Research On Black Holes Gets Patna Boy Into Royal Astronomical Society

Astronomy, the study of celestial phenomena, has captured human attention for long, especially we Indians who depend largely on astronomical bodies for religious observances as well as our agriculture and architecture. Amal Pushp, a STD 12 boy from Patna, may soon join the list of world renowned Indian astronomers that have names like Aryabhata and Brahmagupta.

This, 18-year-old "independent researcher" has been elected by Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society as a fellow, following his nomination by a top British astronomer, Lord Martin Rees, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge.

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How it all started

It all started when Amal had sent his paper on black hole astrophysics to eminent Indian physicist Partha Ghose, former professor at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta, who found it “interesting” and endorsed it for publication.

Partha Ghose while talking to the Telegraph said that he was amazed by the content of the paper written by an 18-year-old boy and he felt it as his duty to endorse it because special talent is needed to be encouraged. When asked about his reaction on Amal receiving a fellowship at RAS, he said "This is absolutely amazing — a fellowship from the RAS is a top honor. We need to find ways to encourage talent in our country too,” he said. “I hope he gets into an excellent undergraduate institution and keeps up such work.”

While confirming the news Dr Robert Massey, deputy executive director at RAS said “Amal Pushp has been elected as a fellow of RAS after a nomination by Lord Martin Rees. It is not an award but a membership to our society.”

All about Amal

Amal, whose father Sanjay Kumar works as a superintendent in Central Board of Indirect Taxes and his mother Pushpa Kumari is a homemaker, feels that he was always interested in knowing more about planets, stars and Sun, he even began experimenting with laws of physics when he was just in STD 9.

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Amal while talking to TOI said, "I was fascinated with astronomical phenomenon, such as solar systems and eclipses and developed an interest in the field since childhood. My school is situated in Khagaul area, where there was a laboratory of astronomers in ancient times."

Flaws in Indian Education system come bare

Though India's fascination for exams and marks may cause a hindrance in Amal's future plans of becoming an astro-physicist. His future lies in the hands of the number of percentage he gets in his class XII boards. His school principal B Vinod said Amal was working hard for his STD 12 exams, scheduled in early 2019. “He is very focused on astronomy and cosmology, but we’ve told him he also needs to concentrate on other subjects for this exam,” Vinod said.

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Sourabh Dube, a physicist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, said Amal had written to him showing interest in procuring an admission in IISERs. “Unfortunately, we have only rigid exam-based entrance routes to our top institutions,” Dube said. “We don’t have formal mechanisms to take talented people who may not do well in exams.”

Partha Ghose, finds the entire trend rote learning and earning marks that engulfs our country -- through which many exceptional students works are at the risk of not being recognized -- extremely worrying.

Surprising reaction from other Indian Physicists

Amal’s fellowship has caught various physicist by surprise. While talking to The Telegraph Nirmalya Kajuri, a theoretical physicist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, said, “His paper was a valid physics paper, impressive for someone in high school, but not at a level that I’d consider suitable for publication in a scientific journal.”

We hope Amal get's an admission in a good undergraduate college so that he could pursue his goals, in the field of astro-physics.

Picture Source : Pinterest; Asteroid Day; Researchgate.net; Times Of India.

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