Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kalam captivates future scientists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Exhorting youth to decide on what they wished to be remembered for, the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, on Thursday inaugurated �Conscientia 2010 the annual science and technology festival of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) here.

In order to become a developed nation by the year 2020, India should initiate integrated action in sectors like agriculture, food processing, education, health care and information and communication technology.

The 6,00,000 villages in the country would have to be given physical and knowledge connectivity which in turn would ensure economic connectivity, he said.

For accelerating economic growth, the nation had to establish a societal grid consisting of a knowledge grid, a health grid, an e-governance grid and a PURA grid. The IIST could consider inter-connecting institutions which were participating in Conscientia as a first step towards facilitating knowledge sharing and mission mode inter-disciplinary research on issues such as energy, water, climate change and food security, Dr. Kalam, who is also the Chancellor of the IIST, said. The Hindu is a media partner for �Conscientia 2010.

Earlier Dr. Kalam stopped by the hall where the institutes students had exhibited telescopes, robots and an unmanned aerial vehicle which they had designed. �There are spy planes so small that they can do into the house of the enemy and come out,� he told the team that had designed �skyliner an �autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle made of balsa wood and styrofoam.

He also examined an amphibious robot, a personal transport vehicle and reflector telescopes designed by IIST students. On being introduced to a professor of the IIST, Dr. Kalam asked her whether dark matter was not a fascinating phenomenon. �Ninety-eight per cent of the universe they say is made up of dark matter. Still no one has seen it,� he pointed out.

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