Technology empowers women, says Kerala researcher who won a Thiel fellowship

Aparna Krishnan
The young researcher who traces her roots to Sekharipuram near Palakkad has been at the forefront of blockchain research since she joined the prestigious university.

All at 21 years of age, Aparna Krishnan has made a mark for her amid researchers of blockchain, a digital network that enables transactions in cryptocurrencies. The Keralite student at the University of California, Berkeley has earned a Thiel Fellowship worth $100,000 (about Rs 68 lakh).

The young researcher who traces her roots to Sekharipuram near Palakkad has been at the forefront of blockchain research since she joined the prestigious university.

She launched the world’s first open source blockchain research lab, Mechanism Labs, along with three friends.

As a school girl in Oman, Krishnan was into mathematics. When she went to pursue a degree in computer science at the UC, Berkeley, blockchain was a natural choice. She delved into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency and found the field lacking in research.

Krishnan’s dedication led her to be a teacher in the university, which allows students to start their own courses with the permission of the authorities.

She set up a blockchain study centre in the university and became a teacher. This is the largest university-recognised course on blockchain.

Chain of credibility

For Krishnan, blockchain is the face of credibility. The technology is a huge leap in making internet transactions secure and transparent.

She expects to focus her research on the decentralised ThunderCore technology and expects to manage the Mechanism Labs along with her research.

Thiel is not a conventional fellowship. The endowment is intended for researchers younger than 23. and comes with excellent research faculties.

A successful candidate has to pass several rounds including a test and interviews. She said that she particularly enjoyed the series of interviews in the final round. She said that she cherished the opportunity to interact with top talents.

Krishnan, the daughter of S R Krishnan and Anuradha, said that she intended to take a two-year break from the UC Berkeley to complete the research under the fellowship.

Unlimited opportunities

Krishnan said that the advent of new technologies is something that empowers women. Technologies such as blockchain offers equal opportunities to anyone who is interested. Blockchain became a part of curriculum thanks to a woman professor, Elaine Shi.

The technology offers unlimited opportunities, said Krishnan. You could be a consultant when big companies shift towards blockchain.

You could even develop a blockchain app or be a protocol developer. You could either work on protocols such as bitcoin or start new ones.

Another opportunity is to teach blockchain in educational institutions. You could research on blockchain or partner in independent research.

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