Dozens of youth chemists flooded Philadelphia June 22 for the annual “You Be the Chemist: National Challenge," and three Indian Americans finished in the top four.

Aum Upadhyay, an eighth grader from Washington; Raghav Ramanujam, a sixth grader from California; and Rafay Ashary, an eighth grader from Texas, finished first, second and third runners-up to 10-year-old champion Daniel Liu, of Ohio.

The 11-round challenge, which grows increasingly more difficult each step of the way, pitted the nation’s top young chemists against each other, with the three Indian Americans being narrowly ousted by Liu, the youngest competitor of the competition and youngest champion ever.

The “You Be the Chemist” Challenge started with nearly 40,000 competitors participating on the local and state levels throughout the previous school year. The top 36 students qualified to compete for the national competition, as 350 friends and family of the contestants cheered on the youth.

For finishing in their respective positions, Upadhyay, Ramanujam and Ashary were awarded $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000, respectively, in scholarships to put towards future educational use. The top four students also received graphing calculators, medals, chemistry kits and gift certificates to the Discovery Channel store.

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