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Kolkata graduate among finalists in BBC quiz contest


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A London-based computational science graduate from Kolkata is part of the Imperial College London team that has entered the finals of BBC’s ‘University Challenge’ quiz competition.

Sourajit Debnath, 31, will join his four-member team as they go head-to-head with University College London (UCL) in the grand final to be telecast on Monday.

In clips being aired from the show this week, Debnath can be seen dressed in a red and black kurta dominating a set of bonus questions on BAFTA-winning video games.

“I feel honoured to have been given a chance to be a part of the history of this long-running British institution,” said Debnath.

“Imperial’s team is unusually well-rounded this year and each teammate has their own selection of niches, or specialisms to borrow from quiz parlance. All other things being equal, I’m responsible for covering maths, physics, and general science, along with pop culture on the humanities side,” he shared.

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Debnath has completed a Master’s in Applied Computational Science and Engineering at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, a degree he chose to pivot to a career in computational science.

In India, he was a space scientist at U.R. Rao Space Centre, the spacecraft-making arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he worked on the 2019 Indian lunar lander/rover mission Chandrayaan-2, among other spacecraft.

After his graduation from Imperial College London, he has joined an Imperial start-up focused on geophysics algorithms operating out of the university’s Royal School of Mines.

“The UK is a friendly and welcoming country for students, but it’s quite difficult to get funding for doctoral programmes as overseas citizens,” he said, when asked about Britain as a higher education destination for Indian students.

Described by the BBC as “TV’s toughest quiz team tournament”, ‘University Challenge’ is hosted by British Indian broadcaster Amol Rajan and attracts teams of students representing the top universities from across the UK to be crowned quiz champions. (PTI)


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