Ritankar Das

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Ritankar Das
Alma materUniversity of California Berkeley, University of Oxford
Scientific career
FieldsPhysical Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering

Ritankar Das is an American scientist, author, poet and social entrepreneur from California. He is the founder and CEO of See Your Future, an education NGO reaching 75 million people worldwide.[1][2][3] At 18, he was the youngest University Medalist (top graduating senior) in at least a century among over 6000 graduates from UC Berkeley.[4][5][6][7] He has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle,[4] ABC News,[7] Times of India[8] and over 100 other media outlets around the globe.[1][2] Das has written a book of poetry, Silent Moon and has been inducted into the YEGS Hall of Fame alongside Martin Luther King Junior, Sergey Brin and Condoleezza Rice.[1] He serves as youth chair of the advisory board of the USA Science and Engineering Festival.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Das graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, CA before attending the University of California, Berkeley.[9] In three years, he completed his studies at UC Berkeley with a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in creative writing.[2][10] He is UC Berkeley’s youngest University Medalist in at least 100 years, and is also the first Medalist ever from the Department of Bioengineering and first from the College of Chemistry in the last 58 years.[2][5][10] He is currently an MSc candidate in Biomedical Engineering and a Whitaker Fellow at the University of Oxford, and has been admitted to the chemistry Ph.D. program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5][11][7]

UC Berkeley[edit]

As a student at UC Berkeley, Das served as an Academic Senator and helped manage a $1.7 million budget.[2][12][13] He founded a research journal, Berkeley Chemical Review, and formed a campus chapter of the American Chemical Society, served as a graduate student instructor and created a new DeCal course on chemistry internships.[2][10][11] He is the youngest inductee of the Berkeley Wall of Fame, alongside Aaron Rodgers, Gregory Peck and Steve Wozniak[2][5]

See Your Future[edit]

Das is the founder and CEO of See Your Future, an education NGO that reaches 75 million people worldwide.[1][2][3][14][12] The goal of See Your Future is to increase the access of underrepresented students, such as low income, minority groups and female students, to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers with the help of curiosity-based learning and new technology platforms.[12][15]

Author and Poet[edit]

Das has written a book of poetry, Silent Moon and has published poetic works in the Namjai anthology.[10][11][12][13] He has also judged the Bay Area Youth Poet Laureate competitions.[14][16][7] Das speaks four languages and has spoken to audiences of over 35,000 as the student commencement speaker at UC Berkeley and at TEDxRedmond.[1][17] He is currently writing a book on education reform.[2][4][10] This book includes contributions from Nobel laureates, U.S. cabinet secretaries, university presidents and Fortune 50 CEOs.[10][18]


Das began researching alternative energy sources at the age of 12 and continued this work at the Energy Biosciences Institute and the United States Department of Energy.[1][2][10][14] His research work includes development of better solvents to break down cellulose for biofuels and finding new ways to grow nanowires for using in highly efficient solar cells.[10][19] He conducted research on organic light-emitting diodes at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica.[7][19] Das also analyzed entries for the Presidential Green Chemistry Awards at the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[4][10] He was recognized by the Smithsonian as a “future Nobel Laureate”, was named a graduate fellow of the National Science Foundation and is featured in an upcoming National Geographic documentary.[1][2]

Board Membership[edit]

Das has served on youth advisory boards to Dell, State Farm, City of New Berlin, DoSomething.org and on the advisory board to the USA Science and Engineering Festival, as youth chair.[2][14][3][20] On the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, he helps award $5 million annually to service-learning projects.[10] He also serves as an international advocate for the United Nations World Food Programme.[1][2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Das has earned over 40 awards totaling more than $300,000 including the Goldwater, Udall, Whitaker, and Pearson awards.[2][5][19] These include awards from PG&E, Kaiser Permanente, Accenture, and Golden Key International Honour Society.[14][21][22] He has been awarded a Congressional Special Certificate of Recognition.[1] Das has received awards from the major scientific societies in chemistry (ACS), physics (APS), and biology (ASBMB) for his work on alternative energy sources.[18][19][13]