July 28th, 2010
She's just 18, but Akanksha Sarda has already made history. She is the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad.
"It's an amazing feeling...It hasn't sunk in yet. People say girls aren't good at physics, I think I have made a point here," said Akanksha Sarda, Gold Medalist, International Physics Olympiad.
Akanksha Sarda knows how precious this medal is and she refuses to take it off.
The 18-year-old is the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad.
Held in Croatia this month, the competition drew 376 participants from 82 countries who tried cracking some the toughest physics problems. The Indian contingent came back with one gold, 3 silver medals and a bronze.
"We have been going for the Physics Olympiad for the past 13 years. Only two girls have gone since, and Akanksha is the first to win a gold," said Vijay Singh, National Co-ordinator, Science Olympiads.
Akanksha stood 18th in the IIT entrance exam this year. But she's giving the coveted institution a miss. She plans to go to MIT in the USA instead and hopes to work with the intellectual she admires.
"Noam Chomsky is not a scientist, but he practically invented modern linguistics. He is so multi-faceted. I hope to work with him when I go to MIT," said a beaming Akanksha.
After solving complex problems at the Olympiad, is the young physicist planning any real inventions?
"There are so many problems in the world to be solved. It may not be finding a solution to the world energy crisis, but even a simple thing that can make a small difference to peoples' lives, that will be it," said Akanksha.