“Dark matter is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.”
Meet 6-year-old Samatha Kranthijanya, a math and science-loving first grader with a trifecta of stellar plans for herself: 1. to be a scientist, 2. to figure out dark matter with her brother, and 3. to win a Nobel Prize. On her quest to solve the intergalactic riddle, she made this awesome video that breaks down the fundamentals using cake to represent dark matter and candy as the stars in the galaxy. In the end, Samatha proves herself to be a charismatic host, an articulate field reporter, and a teacher well beyond her years who makes a complex subject easy to understand… and “very, very yummy” (thanks to her edible props)!
Over the last year, Samatha, who counts Einstein, Marie Curie and Charles Darwin among her favorite scientists, has made 17 videos in which she explains and demos a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects including Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and how to measure the speed of light using chocolate! In this “Dark Matter” episode, we love the acknowledgement Samatha gives to pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin (now age 87), whose groundbreaking work on galaxy rotation rates is said to have “forever changed our fundamental view of the cosmos, from a universe dominated by starlight to one dominated by dark matter.”
Tackling this kind of material as well and as passionately as she does, young Samatha doesn’t fall far from the STEM rock star tree. Her mom and dad, Sowjanya Gollapinni and Kranti Gunthoti, are both resident physicists at Fermilab, which is considered America’s premier particle physics laboratory (they collaborate with scientists from all over the world to conduct pioneering research). As a testament to Samatha’s communication style and the quality of scientific information she delivers through her videos, Kranti tells us they “are often shared by Fermilab, Albert Einstein (official) and other national labs.”
But since there is more to Samatha’s life than this one area of interest, when she’s not STEM-ing it up, she enjoys reading, gymnastics, playing cricket, as well as bug and fossil hunting.
Samatha Kranthijanya is a girl you should know now and a woman you will most certainly know in the future.