By Elton Gomes
Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has elected an 18-year-old Class XII student from Patna, Amal Pushp, as a Fellow after he was nominated Britain’s Astronomer Royal, Lord Marin Rees, who had seen the boy’s research paper.
Amal Pushp said in an email that the RAS elected him as a fellow after Lord Martin Rees, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, nominated him.
“Amal was elected at the age of 18 (the youngest age possible) and nominated by the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees,” Robert Massey, a deputy executive director at the RAS, told the Telegraph on Wednesday.
Pushp had sent his paper on black hole astrophysics to eminent Indian physicist Partha Ghose. Ghose previously taught at the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta. He found Pushp’s paper “interesting” and endorsed it for publication.
In an email to Ghose, Pushp wrote, “It was you who was impressed with my research at first and believed in me without knowing me personally and even gave me endorsement, which I will never forget in my life,” the Telegraph reported.
What is the Royal Astronomical Society?
The Royal Astronomical Society was established on January 12, 1820. It encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar system science, geophysics, and other closely linked branches of science.
It organises scientific meetings and events in its London headquarters — Burlington House —, and other places in the country.
The Society publishes international research and review journals, recognises outstanding achievements by awarding medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities, and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally.
How do you become an RAS Fellow?
There are two ways to become an RAS Fellow, or FRAS. First, if you know a current Fellow personally, you can ask them to nominate you.
Second, if you do not know a current Fellow, you will need to obtain a reference from a professional person who knows you, and is aware of your involvement with astronomy and/or geophysics.
Pushp’s talent needs to be encouraged
After seeing Pushp’s paper, eminent Indian physicist Partha Ghose, told the Telegraph he was “amazed” at the content of the paper that the 18-year-old boy had sent him. Ghose “endorsed” the paper because special talent needed to be encouraged.
“This is absolutely amazing — a fellowship from the RAS is a top honour. We need to find ways to encourage talent in our country too,” Ghose said, the Telegraph reported. “I hope he gets into an excellent undergraduate institution and keeps up such work.”
Ghose then spoke about the worrying conditions of the way in which science education is treated in India. He said that science education is heavily skewed in favour of rote learning and earning marks such that many exceptional students miss out on being rightfully recognised.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.