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Meet Suren, the Indian teenager who won the International Olympiad of Astronomy and Astrophysics 2021

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

Learn more about the teen who won a major science accolade last year.

Suren clinched the gold medal in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2021 (IOAA) in November 2021. (Image: Twitter)

Suren was just a bright boy from Hisar, Haryana. His parents are non-teaching staff members at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU). Suren was deeply interested in science since childhood and participated in Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy Olympiads when he was in Class 11. He did not win. But the experience gave him a love for astronomy. And this winter, Suren won the gold medal in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2021 (IOAA).  

What are the other achievements of Suren? 
Many Indian parents believe Olympiads leave kids with less time for school studies, and affect their regular exam grades negatively. Suren is a case in point to bust this myth. In spite of spending time on Olympiads in Class 11, Suren stood 19th rank in JEE Advanced, and 20th in the JEE Main exam 2021. He is only 17. A bright and curious student, Suren completed his schooling from SM Arya Public School. Right now, he is pursuing his higher studies at IIT Delhi. 

What was Suren’s journey at IOAA? 
If we look at Suren’s interviews to media in December 2021, we will notice that he mentioned the Olympiad was not easy. He had worked hard all the while, but he clearly loved the subject, and he was actually willing to try the Olympiad for the sake of the experience. Suren is studying Computer Engineering at IIT Delhi. But the thirst for knowledge that he developed in his previous Olympiad experience, made him attempt it once again, this time with great success.  

Suren gives credit to the hours of preparation he had put in, and points out that it does not affect regular course work negatively. In fact, international exposure and competition experience has helped him do better. We could all learn from this teen’s example.  

How does the IOAA work? 
The IOAA Olympiad was scheduled as an online event between November 14 and 21, 2021. The first phase of the Olympiad had a theoretical exam, followed by a data analysis round, then an observational round and the grand finale where competitors solved difficult challenges on physics and astronomy. Suren’s previous Olympiad exposure had already given him an edge.