Just when we needed it most, some very good news came last week, from the usual source—Jesuit students—wrapped in wonder, hope, and some deep math deductive digging and scientific service.
So, sit back and prepare to feel some positive vibrations. Let me introduce you first to Mr. Chaitanya Karamchedu of the Jesuit Class of 2017 (pictured at right - at Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair this May). During his three years at Jesuit, Chai has tackled questions that perplex the scientific community and challenge humankind’s survival.
When I contemplate the paucity of clean, accessible water for millions around the world, I shake my head in despair and pray for a solution.
Not Chai. Chai set about figuring out a solution. Read this wonderful Valley Times article about Chai’s innovative approach to freeing the water molecules in the ocean in order to provide a low-cost method of creating fresh water.
On his way to India to visit family this summer, Chai was invited to an IEEE conference in Beijing to present a paper on a different topic: complex plant growth. Chai was the only high schooler invited to one of the world’s most important conferences for geoscience. Amazing!
Along with rising junior Arnob Das, Chai also earned high honors and rubbed elbows with Nobel laureates in science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May. ISEF is where Chai’s water desalination techniques turned heads across the globe.
Says Chai of his recent experiences: “While at ISEF, we spoke to professionals, but we were mainly with our peers—kids very interested in science. The IEEE experience was much more professional, with a different caliber of scientists. I felt like a muggle at Hogwarts!”
Speaking of global head-spinning, meet Ashwin Sah ’17 (second from left in photo above, taken at the International Math Olympiad in Hong Kong this summer). Those of us on campus know Ashwin as one of Dr. Gorman’s math whizzes—and a funny, caring, lovely young man. As a freshman, Ashwin moved immediately past Calculus BC into Dr. Gorman’s Discrete Mathematics class. Dr. Gorman has long regarded Ashwin as a special young man, with not only a head for mathematics, but the heart and fortitude to pursue his gift as far as it would take him.
Says Dr. Gorman of Ashwin, “I enjoying telling people about Ashwin because of the person he is, and not only because of his mathematical skills. I want other students to be inspired by Ashwin to develop their own unique talents.”
In early July, Ashwin’s math skills brought him to Hong Kong as one of the six members of the US Math Olympiad team. That means that Ashwin is one of the top six math students in the whole US (!). He was selected from the hundreds of thousands of secondary students who participate in high-level math competitions around the US each year—an already elite crew of mathematicians.
We hear with some frequency that America is way behind other nations in math. Good news: The US team WON the International Math Olympiad—the premier competition in the world—for the second consecutive year!! Here are a couple of articles from newspapers you may have heard of—the New York Times and Washington Post.
If Ashwin and Chai are the future (and they are!), we have plenty of room for hope. For now, let’s enjoy their present, and their presence among us, and the remarkable gifts they bring to our community and our planet.
Last school year’s theme had to do with digging deep to find meaning in our lives. This summer, Chai and Ashwin are giving us reason to double dig it. Thanks, lads, for giving us bright, shining hope in what has been a tough summer for our nation, and for allowing Jesuit High to bask in the reflected glow of your incandescent intellects.
on Thursday July 21