Recently selected as one of the 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), class of 2020, Zahin Rohan Razeen once dreamt of becoming the next Cristiano Ronaldo. A potentially debilitating injury shifted his focus to AI. Now, he owns a company that will produce biopolymers and another that teaches language around the world
To bring down the use of plastic worldwide, many researchers, entrepreneurs and organisations are trying to invent and promote alternative options. Yet, the market continues to be dominated by plastic products.
As a result, we are using around five trillion plastic bags yearly. This very situation prompted Zahin Rohan Razeen, the founder and CEO of Quantum Polychemics, to do something about it.
After doing his research, Razeen got to learn about Mubarak Ahmad Khan's invention of biopolymers – fully programmable to a time-controlled degradation and environment-friendly. So, he decided to commercialize it worldwide and built Quantum Polychemics, with Mubarak as partner. Founded in January this year, the company is awaiting its license and will go into production as soon as they receive it.
Along with reducing the scarcity of plastic substitutes, Razeen also dreams of reviving the export and revitalising the former glory of jute. He expects this will help a minimum of 15,000 farming families in Bangladesh. And he believes all this can be done approximately in two years.
Recently, this 22-years-old Bangladeshi environmentalist also got selected as a finalist in the United Nations "Young Champion of the Earth" competition. Someone from Bangladesh has been selected after three long years.
His contributions in different fields – Hydro-informatics, Geo-Physics, Material Science, Nano/Biotech, Operational Statistics, Artificial Intelligence, Ed-Tech – have made this possible. His immense curiosity to learn new things was the foundation, feels Razeen.
His journey so far has not been a smooth one. In fact, judging his childhood, no one would have expected him to come this far.
At school, he was known as a troublemaker in class. His teacher complained that he did not pay enough attention, was always unmindful, and not "creative" enough.
Therefore, Razeen planned to be more focused on sports than on academic education. He dreamt of becoming a footballer – just like his hero Cristiano Ronaldo. He was not good at football either, but he kept practicing.
At the beginning, Razeen sat on the sidelines with the extra players. He began practicing eight hours every day and got selected for the team of his school.
Life is however full of unpredictable turns and twists.
At the age of 16 Razeen received an injury on his left knee and his "anterior cruciate ligament" (ACL) was torn badly.
His dream of becoming a football player was shattered when the doctor informed him he would not be able to play football anymore.
In 2016, after completing his 'A' Levels, Razeen was planning to go to the University of Glasgow in Scotland for higher studies. He was ready to pursue his favourite subject, Mathematics.
"Mathematics is the language of this world. The whole world is using the same language unknowingly, and I wanted to know more about this mystery," Razeen stated.
He was prepared to leave, but two months before his flight, he got into another accident and hurt the same leg, making his injury worse.
He needed bone graft and a ligament transplant. "The doctor warned me that I might become paralysed after this operation. My body might reject that transplanted bone. So, he advised me to be mentally prepared," said Razeen.
Neither could he change nor could he control the situation. So, he chose to stay calm by distracting himself. To keep himself busy, Razeen started learning something new – artificial intelligence (AI).
"Surprisingly, no one believed me at that stage that I could learn AI without any academic education. But I believed it and kept trying," remarked a confident Razeen.
He picked water scarcity and pollution as his subject and put all the primary data to AI. Within a few months, he finished his research, measured water quality, made a basic structure of the process, and submitted it to multiple competitions and initiatives.
Later, he learned that he got selected as one of the fellows among 50,000 participants in One Young World, in Hague.
"There, I shared the stage with noble laureates and presidents from all over the world who have interest in technology just like me. This inspired me and gave me courage to take the next step," said Razeen.
In January 2019, he showed "Water Supply & Sewerage Authority" (WASA) how he could measure the quality of water; detect the leakages in pipes; find anonymous bacteria; know water forecast and its demand – in short figuring out the whole design of water architecture of a city, with a little device.
And in this process, digging out the pipe and wasting a lot of money would not be necessary. Rather, all these things can be figuredout in a few seconds. WASA was convinced with his proposal and now he is working with them on the experimental stage.
He has also taken his AI knowledge to theeducation sector and created a company named Lingwing that works on language. It is a platform that provides quality language education to people. Currently, it has 194,957 users around the world, and offers Bengali to English language packages as well.
Besides, freshly graduated Razeen has been endorsed as a Future World Changer by his university for his disruptive innovations.
"At every venture, I was applying my learned principals. I believe that if I can do all these without any academic knowledge, then anyone can do it. One just needs to believe in himself and have curiosity," said Razeen.
As a "Clinton Global Initiative" and "Resolution Project" fellow, he has received international acknowledgments from TechCrunch, CES, One Young World, and NATO for his ground-breaking work in Engineering and Technology. He is also the recipient of the "Watson Institute" scholarship.
"I feel happy and proud to represent Bangladesh on international platforms," uttered Razeen with a satisfactory smile.