Thiruvananthapuram boy all set to ‘rock’ International Earth Science Olympiad

The Geological Society of India is the body responsible for selecting the national team.
Hema Achyuthan, national coordinator of Earth Science Olympiad, giving away the award to Siddharth Kumar Gopal in Shillong
Hema Achyuthan, national coordinator of Earth Science Olympiad, giving away the award to Siddharth Kumar Gopal in ShillongPhoto |Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For Siddharth Kumar Gopal, earth science is a walk in the park. The 16-year-old will look to hit it out of the park when he represents India at the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) to be held in Beijing, China, in August.

The Thiruvananthapuram lad is one of four students -- and the only one from the south -- selected after a rigorous three-week training programme at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Siddharth is not new to winning awards. He bagged the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar award for scholastics in 2020. He also represented the country at the 2023 International Junior Astronomy Olympiad in Volos, Greece where he secured a silver medal.

The son of Dr Kumar Gopal, a gynaecologist who runs Gowreesha Hospital, in the state capital, and Vandhana Rajendran, a director with Deloitte in Bengaluru, Siddharth made it to the national IESO camp for the top 20 students based on a national entrance test in January. During the camp, the students were taken on a field trip to understand the geology of Meghalaya and were tested on their theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills with technical presentations.

The participants were also appraised on their understanding of mineralogy. Siddharth topped the camp and along with Rudra Paithani (Gujarat), Manan Sethia (Chhattisgarh) and Yashaswee Gupta (Rajasthan) won the right to represent the country on an international platform. They will compete against more than 200 high school students from over 50 countries at IESO, which is organised by the International Geoscience Education Organization (IGEO).

“They will test my skills in all major areas of earth science, including geology, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, terrestrial astronomy and environmental sciences. The aim is to enhance the level of geoscience education worldwide and increase public awareness of earth sciences,” Sidharth told TNIE.

The Geological Society of India is the body responsible for selecting the national team. Siddharth and his teammates will participate in a pre-departure camp to be held in Chennai from where the team and its mentors will travel to Beijing.

A student of St Thomas Residential School, in Mukkola, Siddharth topped the school’s charts in the 10th grade ICSE board exams held earlier this year, securing 99.2% marks. He is also an environmentally conscious student and is currently doing the year-long Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship on waste management, under the aegis of the ‘Waste to Wealth Mission’ of the central government.

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