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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
Prof Prabhat Ranjan, Vice Chancellor, D Y Patil International University, Akurdi, Pune leads a discussion on use of Nuclear Fusion for a clean energy for world. This was organized on the occasion of National Science Day (Feb 28, 2021). He is joined by Dr Akash Singh, Inventor and Investor and Mr Paul Mahal, a semiconductor expert and CEO, Stanford Ventures – both based out of Silicon Valley, USA.
Vaccination in India is starting tomorrow (Jan 2, 2021). I am not sure, how much time it would take for showing its impact but it would be at least few weeks. As per my earlier prediction, we are close to 2.5 lakh active cases by year end. I am expecting this to drop to about 1.5 lakh cases by January end. After that it may oscillate between 1 to 1.5 lakh active cases unless vaccination starts to show its impact and numbers drop to insignificant levels. This may take time till March 2021 or so.
We started hearing about Covid-19 virus in January 2020 and its growth in China. At that time it looked too far away from us. However it did not take much time to spread globally and India started to see rising cases in March. We had planned our University foundation day celebrations on March 14th, 2020. Along with celebrations, we had also planned to hand over various awards to students. On the night of March 13th, we got indication from Govt to shutdown student activities and we had to cancel the event and ask students to not come.