MATHIKERE:“My experience at Indian Institute of Science has moulded me and played a big role in my contributions at ISRO,” said A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Space Commission, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO.
He, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), was speaking after receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2015, from the Prof Anurag Kumar, Director, IISc.
Kiran Kumar, a Padmashree awardee, completed his M Tech in Physical Engineering with distinction from IISc in 1975 and has contributed to the design and development of more than 50 electro-optical imaging sensors flown on space-borne platforms. He also played crucial roles in the Chandrayaan-1 and the Mars Orbiter missions.
Speaking about education at IISc, Kiran Kumar said, “My exposure to interdisciplinary work helped me, especially in my early years. ISRO has people working from practically all disciplines. Working at the School of Automation for my project taught me innovation. This process of innovative work helped me bring together different people from different disciplines in order to forge a team.”
Other alumni who were honoured are K S R Charan Reddy, Inspector General of Police, Special Investigation Team of Karnataka Lokayukta; Mitter Vedu, Professor of Management (Retd), PES University, and Principal Consultant at Changeman, Excellence Counsellors and Six Sigma Facilitators; Prof Sunil Kumar, Dean; George Pratt Shultz, Professor of Operations Management at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; and Subhash C Singhal, currently a Battelle Fellow Emeritus at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.
Not only does the award recognize those among IISc alumni who have reached the pinnacles of success but also attempts to re-connect with them and rekindle their association with the institute. The award is jointly constituted by the IISc and the IISc Alumni Association.
Underscoring the idea of connecting and recognising its alumni, director Prof Anurag Kumar said, “The main function of this award is to re-emphasise the fact that these are our alumni. We call them back in the hope that they re-engage with us in our activities.”
Through these awards, IISc hopes to reverse the ‘brain drain’ from India and encourage its former students to participate and contribute to the nation, stated a release.
IGP K S R Charan Reddy said, “It is a really great honour for me to come back here. Such recognition means a lot and comes with a greater responsibility to live up to the expectations of this great institute.”
After completing an M Tech degree in Management Studies from IISc in 1990, he joined the Indian Police Service in 1993. Speaking about his time as a student in IISc, he says, “My experience here made me believe in myself.”
Prof Vedu Mitter, another recipient of this year’s awards, completed his BE and ME in Electrical Communication Engineering from IISc in 1966. He was instrumental as part of a joint development team in making the world’s first ever quartz watch based on sophisticated printed circuits. “I have spent five years at this portal (IISc),” reminisced Prof Mitter on his experiences in IISc. “I remember my professor telling the class that it is not necessary to memorise and remember things. It is more important to be able to source and collate information and use it to do something useful to help the people. He said this many times and I have not forgotten it”.
As an engineering student, Prof. Mitter was also exposed to management and economics at IISc, “You must know a bit of economics, a bit of psychology, to be a good manager. Mere technical knowledge is not enough.”
Prof Sunil Kumar was an outstanding ME student in the Department of Computer Science and Automation at IISc during 1990-92, where he was awarded the N R Khambati Medal. He studies the performance and control of manufacturing systems and service operations through mathematical models.
On his selection for the award, he modestly said, “My years at IISc proved transformative for me. I owe much of what I have achieved to the institute. To be recognised by such an alma mater is a humbling honour. I will cherish the award and strive to live up to it.”
Subhash C Singhal obtained a BE in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science in 1965. An author on 100 scientific publications and with 13 patents to his name, Singhal is internationally recognised for his research on solid oxide fuel cell technology.
“Over the last fifty years, I have not strayed far from the formal education I received at IISc,” he said. “It was my education at IISc, particularly in material thermodynamics, that helped me develop solid oxide fuel cells for power generation.”