|President APJ Abdul Kalam at the seminar in Calcutta. Picture by Amit Datta
May 17: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today taught nanotechnology and convergence of technologies but the real lesson was in public relations.
The 50 MTech and Ph.D. students and 15 faculty members in the class at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, remained glued to their seats as the President lectured on applications of nanotechnology and technology convergence in two separate sessions.
“Attending a lecture by the President was a privilege. He is a very informed person. He talked about various issues related to nanotechnology,” said Sayoni Mazumdar, a Ph.D. student of materials science at the institute.
During the two lectures of 25 minutes and 20 minutes, he walked up to students to clarify points and see what notes they were taking.
He also took questions from them and promised to send replies via email in a day or two.
“The lecture given by the President was directed towards beginners. His aim was to inspire young students to take up nanoscience. He said we had missed many scientific revolutions in the past and should not miss the one in nanotechnology,” said Indranil Manna, coordinator of nanoscience and technology, IIT Kharagpur.
Kalam’s advice to the institute’s students was “knowledge makes one great”, which he wrote on one of the posters displayed at the auditorium depicting IIT Kharagpur’s works.
“The country is moving into a knowledge era. IIT Kharagpur, with its inherent strength in research and training, can take pioneering action in establishing a virtual university system in Bengal. This would help the higher education system generate quality human resource for the knowledge era,” said Kalam.
The President also unveiled the foundation stone of the B.C. Roy Multi-Speciality Medical Research Centre on the campus, which will be developed into a medical college.
In the afternoon, he visited Manovikas Kendra, and donated Rs 10 lakh from the President’s fund for rehabilitation and research.
He also interacted with the students at the National Council of Education at Jadavpur.
At Calcutta Club, Kalam awarded scholarships to two students — Tahera Khatun, 20, from Birbhum and Bikramjit Barkandaj, 18, from Sandeshkhali — to pursue medicine.
He also attended a seminar on “Development of Eastern India: Strategic Issues in a National Perspective” at the National Library and visited the rare books section there.