Converting challenges into opportunities

Published: 03rd June 2013 12:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2013 12:25 PM   |  A+A-

Prof. Paul Crutzen (Chemistry, 1995) got Nobel Price for chemistry for demonstrating that the chemical compounds of Nitrogen Oxide accelerate the destruction of Stratospheric Ozone, which protects the Earth from the Sun?s ultraviolet radiation. From the young age, Paul Crutzen was challenged by war, family conditions, and his atmospheric research interest was shining despite different types of work environment. He is indeed an example of how a strong mind can defeat the problem and succeed.

In his younger days itself, Paul Crutzen was fond of Physics and Mathematics and also he was a good chess player. For many years, Crutzen longed for an academic career and accidentally joined Meteorology Department of Stockholm University as a programmer. There he programmed a model of tropical cyclone. Also, he attended some of the lecture courses and fulfilled the requirement of Master of Science degree taking the combination of Mathematics, Mathematical Statistics and Meteorology. Time constraints did not permit him to pursue Physics or Chemistry which needed large amount laboratory work. With this background, he took up Ph.D. thesis on a meteorological topic using his experience in the development of numerical model of a tropical cyclone. Simultaneously, he was given a task of helping a scientist from US to develop a numerical model of the oxygen allotrope distribution in the stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere. He got interested in this project leading to the study of photochemistry of atmospheric ocean and started an intensive study of the scientific literature which provided him the initial conditions for his scientific career. With this experience, he also changed the research topic to stratospheric chemistry.

It is extraordinary that even though his earlier circumstances did not permit him to take up the pure science studies, his inherent passion enabled him to achieve at the highest level on the pure science related to atmospheric science. Here is a scientist who coverted all the challenges into opportunities in pursuit of his life time mission. This is an article written by  former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

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