When students inspired ISRO Chairman Sivan in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: About 40 students from select schools in this tech hub inspired Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan on Tuesday.

“All of you with boundless energy and endless curiosity are my biggest source of inspiration and motivation,” Sivan told the students at an interaction in the state-run ISRO’s Antariksha Bhavan here.

The students, including girls, were part of the state-run ISRO’s outreach programme — Samwad with Students (SWS), unveiled on the New Year Day.

“Through the SwS initiative, we aim to engage youngsters across the country to capture their scientific temperament,” said Sivan in a statement.

SwS will draw inspiration and motivation from young India, he said, adding that the conversation mission will inspire students across schools and colleges.

“With so many challenges on hand this year, I thought it is important to seek the well wishes of students who are the future of this country,” Sivan said.

ISRO officials, including scientists, briefed the students and their 10 teachers about the Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man.

In the question and answer (Q&A) session, Sivan briefed the students on the space agency’s operations, including rockets, satellites, Chandrayaan (moon mission), Gaganyaan (human space mission) and their applications.

When a Class 8 student asked Sivan if ISRO was his first choice as a youngster, Sivan said he was a very shy when young.

“I was denied my first choice, be it college or career,” recalled the Chairman on the occasion.

Going down the memory lane, Sivan said he wanted to study engineering after high school but ended up studying B.Sc in mathematics.

“Later, I got into engineering and wanted to join ISRO’s Satellite Centre (ISAC) in Bengaluru. Instead, I joined the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thiruvananthapuram in southern Kerala. There, I wanted to join the aereo-dynamics group, but was part of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project,” remembered Sivan.

To another question by a Class 9 student on how scientists cope with failures, the Chairman said the biggest lessons in life are derived when the plans go astray.

“Space missions are very complex in nature and different from terrestrial systems. They have to work in extreme environments more often. Our forefathers have shown us path to take failures in our stride and take on the challenges with a positive mindset,” Sivan said.

When a student asked how they could contribute to ISRO’s missions, Sivan said: “When you complete studies with focus on fundamentals of science, you could get back to us and help us solve our problems.

“We need solutions to many complex problems and you could be giving us answers to them in future.”

The rocket scientist exhorted students to take up science and mathematics with seriousness to enable them join challenging careers.

“Whenever we are short of ideas or inspiration, we will look for you. We will be ever ready to answer your questions related to India’s space missions,” Sivan added.