"never be afraid to try"

Gitanjali Rao

We believe in reality-changing projects that rebuild concepts and redefine the dialogue between people. We’ll share some of these here with you.  

Celinununu salutes Gitanjali Rao, an inspiring 14-year-old scientist from Colorado that invented “Tethys”, a water testing device that helps people find out if their water is safe for drinking.

In 2014, Gitanjali Rao saw the news about the city of Flint’s, Michigan major health crisis which happened due to its water being contaminated with a toxic metal called lead. This crisis greatly impacted her, and she decided to do something to help people, not just in the USA but all over the world and started working on Tethys, “I believe access to clean water is a human right” said the young scientist, “and we shouldn’t put a price on clean water”.

Gitanjali reached out to her parents, both engineers, her teachers and experts at local colleges and universities for help. She spent months trying to convince local high schools and colleges to give her lab time to continue her experiments and continued to work on her project in the “science room” at home. After numerous trial and error Tethys was invented.

Named after the Greek goddess of fresh water, Tethys contains special sensors that once dunk into water, measure how much lead is present in them. Once calculated, the data is sent to an app on your phone which tells you whether the water is safe, slightly contaminated, or critically contaminated. Tethys measures lead levels more accurately and faster than any other technology. It’s also cheaper.

In 2017 Gitanjali was named “America’s Top Young Scientist” and was granted the first prize of $25,000.

In Gitanjali’s own words: “Advice I would give to other kids would be to never be afraid to try, I had so many failures when I was doing my tests. It was frustrating the first couple of times, but towards the end, everything started coming together. I knew all these failures, which were learning experiences, would make my experiment better.”

We have no doubt that this is only the beginning for Gitanjali and that she will continue to change the world into a better one!