Houston: A 16-year-old India-born chemistry wizard will represent the US along with three other students in the annual International Chemistry Olympiad beginning on Monday in Azerbaijan.
Soorajnath Boominathan, a resident of Oklahoma state, has recently completed his graduation from Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.
"I think that is the most amazing part of this whole experience, representing my country. It is hard to put into words what this means," Boominathan was quoted as saying by Oklahoma-based news website NewsOK.Com.
He scored high enough on local and national exams to earn an invitation last month to an Olympiad study camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Boominathan said he was surprised to get as far as he did at last year's study camp, where he "wanted to absorb as much info as I could learn and then go into my senior year with a better chance of making the Top 4."
The competition consists of two exams that can last as long as five hours each and are given on separate days. Subjects include organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.
"There's a lot of reading you have to do outside of college-level textbooks, so that makes it more challenging," he said.
Boominathan is studying as much as eight hours a day.
His mentor Fazlur Rahman, a chemistry professor at Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, called Boominathan one of the top chemistry students in the nation.
"Sooraj (Boominathan) has much to celebrate. I think he has all the elements and ingredients to be a great scientist," Rahman said.
Boominathan was born in India and has been living in Oklahoma for 10 years. He will soon enroll at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The 47th annual Olympiad in Azerbaijan's Baku will be held from July 20 to 29.