Always denied 1st choice in academic, professional life: ISRO chief

Bengaluru: ISRO chief K Sivan Tuesday told students that he was always denied his first choice throughout his academic and professional life. Dr Sivan stated this to a group of students at ISRO’s unique launch ‘Samwad With Students’ (SWS) here.

“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 the ISRO Satellite Centre ISAC (now URSC) Bengaluru, but instead joined the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram. At VSSC, I wanted to join the Aerodynamics group, but was part of the PSLV project instead,” Dr Sivan said to a question by an eighth standard student, who wanted to know what his first choice was as a youngster.

ISRO said in a statement that the idea behind the SWS programme was to engage youngsters across India to capture scientific temperament and inspire students, cutting across schools and colleges.

As many as 40 students and 10 teachers from select schools interacted with the ISRO chief at Anthariksh Bhavan. The students were first briefed about the Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man during their three hour stay in the ISRO headquarters, the space agency said.

To a query from a 10th standard student on how scientists coped 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 the path to take failures in our stride and take on the challenges with a positive mindset,” the ISRO chief said.

Students posed various questions to Dr Sivan – ranging from rockets, to satellites, to the Chandrayaan moon mission, to Gaganyaan, to space applications. Dr Sivan told students that they were going to be his biggest source of inspiration and motivation.

“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, Dr Sivan said.