Meet the 2012 Point Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 14 2012 9:43 AM ET
Wells Fargo Point Scholar
Aeronautics & Astronautics
As a sophomore in high school, Ved Chirayath modified a consumer digital camera and telescope to detect a new extra‐solar planet, 150 light years away and roughly twice the size of Jupiter. Later that year, he received the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Distinguished Scientist Award and enrolled as the first American at Moscow State University's Physics Department.
In 2009, Chirayath transferred to Stanford University’s Physics Department to study astrophysics. While finishing an additional concentration in Physics, he was accepted to the graduate program in Aeronautics & Astronautics and began researching a novel means to control aircraft. In 2011, Chirayath demonstrated the first controlled flight in history of an unmanned aerial vehicle by using plasma actuators — lightweight, efficient flow control devices blended onto the surface of the wing with no moving parts.
Chirayath says he's determined to become the first openly LGBT astronaut.