Gitanjali Rao (born 2005) is an American inventor, author, scientist, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) promoter. She won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in 2017, and was recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 for her innovations. Rao was named TIME Top young innovator in 2020 for her innovations and the innovation workshops that she conducts across the globe. In December 2020 she was featured on the cover of TIME magazine and named their first "Kid of the Year".
When aged ten, after watching the TV news, she became interested in ways to measure the lead content in water. This led to her developing a device called Tethys based on carbon nanotubes that could send water quality information via Bluetooth. Rao has developed an app named "kindly" that uses AI to detect cyberbullying at an early stage, and a diagnostic tool called Epione based on advances in genetic engineering for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction.
Rao is a 3-times TEDx Speaker and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency President’s Environmental Youth Award. She is an accomplished pianist and is working on getting her pilot's license. Even in video chats, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shine through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you. Take this unique opportunity to listen to one of the brightest lights of the current generation of young scientists and inventors.