Travel woes returning from the USA

This blog describes my travel woes while returning from USA to India in first week of January 2022. Purpose of writing this blog was to let people know that trouble and system failures can take place in any part of the world and not only in India!

I was in the USA to spend time with my daughter, Juhi, in California in December 2021. As my grandson’s birthday falls in 3rd week of Nov, I normally plan to be there during Nov-Dec time (See my blog How Did I Start Cooking! to know about my baking cake for grandson) Towards the end of December, we spent a week traveling through death valley in California/Nevada area.

At fossil Falls

I had booked my return trip on Jan 3, 2022 taking a direct United Airlines flight from San Francisco(SFO) to Delhi. As per Covid protocol, we needed to get an RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of departure. The earliest day for testing was Jan 1 and we tried to book a testing slot a day earlier but we were not finding it easily by searching through various possibilities. I woke up early morning of Jan 1 to try doing more search but there was nothing available in either free or by paying $100-$150 per test. There were some that had mentioned walking in and trying but nothing was very clear. I raised an alarm about the difficulty in finding a testing slot. My Son in law, Sanchit, wakes up early morning around 5:30 AM or so. He tried to collect information from his circle too and only possibility of getting a Rapid PCR test done by paying $300 came up – with results available in 2-3 hours.

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My Contribution to Nuclear Fusion Technology

For nearly four decades, I have been involved in the Nuclear Fusion work due to a midnight patriotic feeling while on my way out of the country for higher studies and since then have continued to play a role in developing or promoting nuclear fusion in India. I hope to continue contributing to this and expect to see applications happening in India too!

Starting in 1983 at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (and Univ of California, Berkeley) till 2002, I did full-time research in the area of Nuclear Fusion in USA and India. I contributed through modeling, development of data acquisition and control system, variety of system development, experiments, and operational improvements as well as solving technical problems to enhance the performance of both the first generation Tokamaks(a type of Nuclear Fusion Reactor) in Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics(SINP), Kolkata and Institute for Plasma Research(IPR), Gandhinagar to international levels of performance. At IPR, I was project leader of Aditya Tokamak from 1996 to 2002. I was also Project Leader of SST-1(Superconducting Tokamak) Operation and Control Group from 1997-2002.

Here I describe my contribution during the continued contribution to Nuclear Fusion for almost 4 decades.

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How Did I Start Working in the Disability Sector

My chance entry to the disability sector through a student project changed my life for better and made me a better human being as I learned to be more positive and to “Count the ability and not the disability”

Getting Initiated

In DA-IICT, we had introduced design thinking in the second semester of BTech(ICT) program. This was followed by an internship in summer(later changed to winter) in a rural area and a Zero Credit Design project in the second year. Idea was to let them explore some area of societal benefit for a full year without any pressure of grades and timeline.

Two students, Pallavi and Ramya(both from Hyderabad) approached me(most likely in 2007) to work with me on design project with an interest in helping persons with visual impairment. They visited Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad to get an idea of various needs. Later in summer vacation, they came across news about a girl, Bhawana from Chennai, who had passed class 10th. Normally this does not make news but Bhawana was not in a position to move or talk. She did not have fine finger movement just a coarse movement of hands. In spite of these conditions, her passing of 10th was worthy of news. Pallavi and Ramya visited her in Chennai to understand how she studies and carries out other functions.

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Prof Prabhat Ranjan: Life Series on 60th Birthday

in 2020, I turned 60 years, which set my clock back to zero and new innings started. On this occasion, my University organized a set of live discussions from June 3 to June 8, 2020 covering my life from childhood to current days involving persons who knew me closely during that phase of life.

in 2020, I turned 60 years, which set my clock back to zero and new innings started. On this occasion, my University organized a set of live discussions from June 3 to June 8, 2020 covering my life from childhood to current days involving persons who knew me closely during that phase of life. I am sharing video links from that series here: – Social media Promotion Video – a set of photographs from different stages – June 3, 2020 – (part 1 of 6) – Early Childhood, Education – June 4, 2020 – (part 2 of 6) – Education at Netarhat, IIT Kharagpur, Delhi Univ, Univ of California Berkeley

June 5, 2020 – Part 3 of 6 – Nuclear Fusion Research at Univ of California Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Saha Inst of Nuclear Physics(SINP), Inst for Plasma Research (IPR)
June 6, 2020 – (Part 4 of 6): Disability Sector, Moon Mission, Wildlife tracking – June 7, 2020 – (Part 5 of 6) – TIFAC, Technology Vision 2035, KIRAN IPR

June 8, 2020 – (Part 6 of 6) – D Y Patil International Univ, Akurdi, Pune and Holistic Health Experience

How Artificial Intelligence Got into India’s Curriculum

When I served as a member of AICTE Perspective plan committee in 2017, I did not know that I would become part of a sequence of actions that led to the introduction of AI on large scale in India!

While AI was being taught as a part of Indian Institute’s curriculum for long time, it got its deserved place as a separate stream more recently. As Facebook showed photo of a meeting held at AICTE in 2017, I thought it would be good to write out the story for others to know.
At TIFAC, we had worked upon Technology Vision 2035 ( a set of 13 documents, consisting of a Main Vision document for India along with road maps for 12 sectors of importance such as Education, Healthcare, Energy etc.). See my blog on this at Making and Launching of Technology Vision 2035.

In April 2017, a committee was formed by AICTE to help in “Preparing Short & Medium Term Perspective Plan for Engineering Education in India”. Here is the photograph of the first committee meeting in AICTE HQRS in Delhi in May 2017.

First meeting of AICTE Perspective Plan Committee in May 2017
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Nuclear Fusion in India : Past, Present and Future

This is video of a plenary talk that was given at Bihar Science Conference on Dec 3, 2020 held online. Talk gives overall progress of nuclear fusion in last 4 decades in India and where we need to go. The talk also makes historic announcement regarding a privately funded Nuclear Fusion project in India code named – Project Sanlayan. Here is the link to video – talk starts after 3:00 minutes.