Empowering Minds: Providing challenges for a talented young student

Indian teen Tuhin Bagi uses MIT OpenCourseWare to enhance his studies and set his sight on future endeavors.


Future automobile engineer Tuhin Bagi stands before a few of his favorite models. (Photo courtesy of Tuhin Bagi.)

The city of Nasik has long been known as the wine capital of India for its plentiful supply of grapes, but more recently it has become a high-tech and engineering hub—one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Born and raised there, fifteen-year-old Tuhin Bagi shares his native city’s fascination with science and technology, and maintains an equally breathless pace. He’s captain of his school’s badminton team (the reigning champs), plays classical Indian music, frequently competes in regional science fairs, and follows a full curriculum of advanced courses in physics, chemistry and biology.

His parents are strong supporters of Tuhin’s academic interests, but found themselves challenged by his curiosity. “Tuhin is an eager learner,” explains his father, an industrial automation engineer, “and his interests took him far beyond his school syllabus. I tried to answer his questions and have regular sessions with him, but I could not always be home.” One day, while looking for online resources to help Tuhin answer a question in physics, his mother came across MIT OpenCourseWare. At first she worried that its material might be too advanced for a high school freshman, and wrote to OCW for advice. To her surprise, she received a personal response from revered MIT professor Walter Lewin, who suggested that Tuhin give his lectures a try.

Tuhin loved the lectures immediately, and every day after school his mother would find him watching them on the computer (both 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics and 8.02SC Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism). He sometimes needed to watch a single lecture several times to really capture everything, but acknowledges that it’s a big achievement for someone his age to follow a university-level science course. “It is a bit unusual,” he admits with a smile, “I don’t know anyone else at my school who is doing this.”  Read more.

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