IIT at 13, Apple employee by 24, but this farmer’s son from Bihar has his eyes set elsewhere

Poor background can be a hurdle but cannot stop you from fulfilling your dreams if you are determined. The inspiring story of Satyam Kumar, the son of a farmer in the Bhojpur district of Bihar, clearly tells this. 

Kumar, currently doing his Ph.D. in Brain-Machine Interfaces at the University of Texas in Austin, cracked the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) in 2013 at the tender age of 13 and secured a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur after securing a rank of 679. He became the youngest prodigy to achieve this feat by breaking the earlier record of Sahal Kaushik (14) from Delhi.

Interestingly, 2013 was not Kumar’s first chance to clear this prestigious examination. In 2012, he first cleared the IIT-JEE exam at the age of 12 with an all-India ranking of 8,137, but later decided to retake the exam, aiming for a higher rank.

Kumar completed his combined BTech-MTech course in Electrical Engineering at IIT Kanpur in 2018 and then moved to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue his Ph.D.

Kumar worked on three projects while completing his education at IIT- Kanpur. “Electrooculogram based eye blink classification During EOG signal accuistion”, “Optimisation of electrode positions in Different Brain Computer Interfaces”, and “Imaginative Speech based Brain-Computer Interface”, reported India Today.

After finishing his higher education, he started working at Apple at the age of 24 as a machine learning intern until August 2023. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is currently specialised in brain-computer interfaces and is working as a graduate research assistant at the University of Texas at Austin.

In an interview with India Today in 2013, he expressed his desire to return to his home district Bhojpur in Bihar to teach children and improve their lives.

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Updated: 14 Nov 2023, 08:09 PM IST

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