As part of the enhanced outreach programme of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a new platform named “Samwad with Students” (SwS) was launched in Bengaluru today. Through the SwS initiative, ISRO aims to constantly engage youngsters across India to capture their scientific temperament. The new conversation mission will inspire students cutting across schools and colleges. The first SwS event saw 40 wards and 10 teachers from select schools interact with ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan at the Anthariksh Bhavan.
During the three-hour stay at ISRO HQ, the students were first briefed about Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man. In his opening remarks Dr Sivan said the SwS aims at drawing inspiration and motivation from young India. “All of you with your boundless energy and endless curiosity are going to be my biggest source of inspiration and motivation. With so many challenging on hand this year, I thought it is important to seek the well wishes of students who are the future of this country,” Dr Sivan said.
The Q&A session that followed saw Dr Sivan engaging students on a series of topics ranging from rockets, satellites, Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan and various space applications. When an 8th Standard student asked about whether ISRO was his first choice as a youngster, Dr Sivan said: “I was very shy when I was young. And, as far as college and career goes, I was always denied my first choice. After high school, I wanted to study Engineering but ended up studying B.Sc Mathematics. Later, I got into Engineering and wanted to join ISAC (now URSC) Bengaluru, instead joined VSSC at Thiruvananthapuram. At VSSC, I wanted to join the Aerodynamics group, but was part of PSLV project instead.”
To another query from a 10th Standard student, – How scientists cope up with failures, Dr Sivan said the biggest lessons in life are often derived when the plans go astray. “Space missions are very complex in nature and totally 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,” he said.
When a student was keen to know how they could contribute to ISRO’s missions, Dr Sivan said: “When you complete your 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.”
Dr Sivan explained to the students the importance of Indian space programme and its benefits to the society at large. He wanted them to take up science and mathematics with absolute seriousness which would enable them to take up 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,” Dr Sivan added.
On the sidelines, the students and teachers also interacted with ISRO scientists and engineers.