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TIME's First Kid of the Year

Meet Gitanjali Rao, a 15-year-old who was named TIME's Kid of the Year for 2020!

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Every year, a person (or a few people) is named TIME Magazine's Person of the Year. And this year, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received that honor. In 2019, it was Greta Thunberg. But see, today we aren't talking about TIME's Person of the Year. We're talking about TIME's first ever Kid of the Year, Gitanjali Rao. You may not have heard of her, or you may have. You might know about her work in cyberbullying and the Flint water crisis.

Yes, she's a scientist. And an inventor, as it says on the cover of the magazine. What did she do to attain this title? Well, that's what we're going to be talking about. First things first, what was the Flint, Michigan water crisis? Put simply, the water supply was poisoned with too much lead. Lead is a metal that is extremely toxic and can poison people, leading to weakness, kidney and brain damage, and if having consumed too much, death. So it's no laughing matter. And don't worry, lead is not that thing in your pencil, it's graphite. Otherwise that kid in your class who once put a pencil tip in his mouth would not be feeling so good.

So what does Gitanjali Rao have to do with the Flint water crisis? Easy. A few years ago Gitanjali made a device that could test the lead levels in water. I'm not going to go into the details right now, because that would take forever, so I'm just going to tell you the basics. Gitanjali created a device with three different components: a disposable cartridge that has chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays, an Arduino signal processor with a Bluetooth device attached, and an app for a phone that shows the results. If you want to know why it worked, click here.

Gitanjali also worked on the issue of cyberbullying by creating an app that uses AI to try and detect it. I don't know too much about the app, but you can watch a video about it here.

Gitanjali Rao is truly one of the younger geniuses in this world, and I expect to see more from her in the future. You can read the TIME article about her here.

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