Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dr. Kalam's last completed speech. 02-08

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Address and interaction with the Students of Bijnor 
BijnorJul 21 2015 India

Technology and its dimensions
"Be a lamp, a life boat and a ladder.
Help someone?s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd"

Jalaluddin Rumi
13th Century Persian Sufi Poet
I am indeed delighted to address and interact with the Students, Faculty and Staff of R.V Institute of Technology here in the historic town of Bijnor. My greetings to all of you.

I understand Agriculture is the main source of income in Bijnor, with sugarcane being the main crop. Friends, also I understand the R.V Institute of Technology has worked on several Rural Development Projects such as Self Reliant Workshops & Farmer's Meets, Workshops, Promoting Green Building Campus and several other social initiatives. The vision of this institution is "To transform young minds into technocrats, globally competitive, highly skilled with positive mind set, who live with human values in full respect of the co-existence". 

I am sure, students come out of RV Institute will have the capacity to feel and do that I can do it. I would like to greet all the faculty members for shaping the young minds and the supporting staff. Friends, when I am with you I would like to share few thoughts on
"Technology and its dimensions".
First let me share about an important experience of system development, systems integration and system management, which I had during my education at MIT Chennai. 
Systems integration, engineering and management
While I was studying aeronautical engineering in MIT, Chennai, (1954-57) during the third year of my course, I was assigned a project to design a low-level attack aircraft together with six other colleagues. I was given the responsibility of system design and system integration by integrating the team members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and structural design of the project. The other five of my team took up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and instrumentation systems of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof. Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. He reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and disappointing. He didn?t lend an ear to my difficulties in bringing together data base from multiple designers. I asked for a month?s time to complete the task, since I had to get the inputs from five of my colleagues without which I cannot complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look, young man, today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days time. If by Monday morning I don't get the configuration design, your scholarship will be stopped." I had a jolt in my life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot continue with my studies. There was no other way out but to complete the task of design. My team felt the need for working together round the clock. We didn?t sleep that night, working on the drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just an hour?s break. On Sunday morning, I was near completion, when I felt someone's presence in my laboratory. It was Prof. Srinivasan studying my progress in the drawing board. After looking at my work, he patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of appreciation: "I knew I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done great job in system design". What I learnt from engineering education was, how important system development, system integration and system management is? This integrated learning experience assisted me in various faces of my career.
Through this review mechanism Prof Srinivasan, really injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by each team member and brought out the best from the system design team. I realized that if something is at stake, the human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets enhanced manifold. That?s what exactly happened. This is one of the techniques of building talent. The message is that young in the organization, whatever be their specialization, be trained to systems approach of multiple disciplines and projects, which will prepare them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher organizational responsibilities. Teacher has to be a coach like Prof. Srinivasan. 
Mission Pluto
As you all know in January 2006, New Horizons clocked the fastest launch ever recorded when it blasted off in exceeding 36,000 miles per hour, crossing the Moon in just 9 hours. Capping a journey of 3 billion miles, the space craft took just three minutes to cross the diameter of the tiny planet. While most spacecraft depends on solar energy to power their on-board systems, the mission was powered by nuclear fuel ? aptly, plutonium ? that gives off heat as it decays. The fuel is designed to last until the late 2020s or even beyond. The project chiefs had estimated there was a 1-in-10,000 chance a debris strike could destroy New Horizons as it soared just 7,750 miles (12,472 km) which is almost equal to the distance from New York to Mumbai - from Pluto. It will take about 16 months for New Horizons to transmit back all the thousands of images and measurements taken during its pass by Pluto to earth but by that time, the spacecraft would have travelled even deeper into the Kuiper Belt, heading for a possible follow-on mission beyond the dwarf planet Pluto.
What worked yesterday, will not work today
Dear friends, I was studying a book, "Empires of the Mind" by Denis Waitley. This book gives what type of the new world which we are facing now? What was yesterday and what is today. I have modified certain points of the author to suit the occasion today. I have also added a third line which relates to action of leadership. The book specially says, "What worked yesterday, won?t work today."
Role of leadership in a Knowledge Society:
1. Yesterday - natural resources defined power
Today - knowledge is power
Institutions should empower itself with knowledge

2. Yesterday - Hierarchy was the model

Today- synergy is the mandate
Institutions will be enabler for intersection of multiple faculties towards mission goals

3. Yesterday - leaders commanded and controlled

Today - leaders empower and coach
Institutions will enrich itself through exposure to the needs of sustainable development

4. Yesterday - shareholders came first

Today - customers come first
Institutions should inculcate sensitivity to the needs of all the stakeholders

5. Yesterday - employees took order

Today - teams make decision
Institutions will promote team spirit

6.Yesterday - seniority signified status

Today - creativity drives status
Institutions will be judged by innovation and promote creativity

7. Yesterday - production determined availability

Today - Competitiveness is the key
Institutions will constantly evolve more competitive with knowledge, management and technology 

8. Yesterday - value was extra

Today - value is everything
Institutions will have the priority to inculcate value addition at every level

9. Yesterday - everyone was a competitor

Today - everyone is a customer
Institutions will value feedback and action based on that 

10. Yesterday - profits were earned through expediency

Today - Work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
Institutions have to imbibe the concept of work with integrity and succeed with integrity and act as promoters of such a culture in their students

When I see the creative young minds of RV Institute of Technology, Bijnor, I am thinking what drives the culture of excellence ? that is innovation and creativity.
A nation?s economic development is powered by competitiveness. Competitiveness is powered by knowledge. Knowledge is powered by technology. Technology is powered by innovation. Technology and innovation are powered by resource investment. Innovation opens up new vistas of knowledge and new dimensions to our imagination to make everyday life more meaningful and richer in depth and content. Innovation is born out of creativity. 
In a knowledge society, we have to make innovations continuously. Innovations come through creativity. Creativity comes from beautiful minds. It can be anywhere and any part of the world. It may start from a fisherman hamlet or a farmer?s household or a dairy farm or cattle breeding center or it could emanate from classrooms or labs or industries or R&D centers. Creativity has multi dimensions like inventions, discoveries and innovations. Creative mind has the ability to imagine or invent something new by combining, changing or reapplying existing ideas. Creative person has an attitude to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it. Creativity is a process through which, we can continuously improve ideas and find unique solutions by making gradual alterations and refinements to our works. The important aspect of creativity is seeing the same thing as everybody else, but thinking of something different. Innovation and creativity ultimately results into the culture of excellence.
Culture of Excellence
Excellence in thinking and action is the foundation for any mission. What is excellence? Friends, you all belong to the youth community, which should stand for culture of excellence. Moreover, excellence is not by accident. It is a process, where an individual or organization or nation continuously strives to better oneself. The performance standards are set by themselves, they work on their dreams with focus and are prepared to take calculated risks and do not be deterred by failures as they move towards their dreams. Then they step up their dreams, as they tend to reach the original targets. They strive to work to their potential, in the process, they increase their performance thereby multiplying further their potential, and this is an unending life cycle phenomenon. They are not in competition with anyone else, but themselves. That is the culture of excellence. I am sure; each one of you will aspire to become unique with culture of excellence.

Now, let me share with you how a street boy became a Nobel laureate. 
It does not matter who you are
Mario Capecchi had a difficult and challenging childhood. For nearly four years, Capecchi lived with his mother in a chalet in the Italian Alps. When World War II broke out, his mother, along with other Bohemians, was sent to Dachau as a political prisoner. Anticipating her arrest by the Gestapo, she had sold all her possessions and given the money to friends to help raise her son in their farm. In the farm, he had to grow wheat, harvest and take it to miller to be ground. Then, the money which his mother left for him ran out and at the age of four and half years, he started living sometimes in the streets, sometimes joining gangs of other homeless children, sometimes living in orphanages and most of the time hungry. He spent the last year in the city of Reggio Emelia, hospitalized for malnutrition where his mother found him on his ninth birthday after a year of searching. Within weeks, Capecchi and his mother sailed to America to join his uncle and aunt.

He started his 3rd grade schooling afresh over there and started his education, interested in sports, studied political science. But he didn?t find it interesting and changed into science, became a mathematics graduate in 1961 with a double major in Physics and Chemistry. Although he really liked Physics, its elegance and simplicity, he switched to molecular biology in graduate school, on the advice of James D Watson, who advised him that he should not be bothered about small things, since such pursuits are likely to produce only small answers.

His objective was to do gene targeting. The experiments started in 1980 and by 1984, Capecchi had clear success. Three years later, he applied the technology to mice. In 1989, he developed the first mice with targeted mutations. The technology created by Doctor Capecchi allows researchers to create specific gene mutations anywhere they choose in the genetic code of a mouse. By manipulating gene sequences in this way, researchers are able to mimic human disease conditions on animal subjects. What the research of Mario Capecchi means for human health is nothing short of amazing, his work with mice could lead to cures for Alzheimer?s disease or even Cancer. The innovations in genetics that Mario Capecchi achieved, won him the Nobel Prize in 2007.

Nobel laureate Capecchi life indeed reveals: - 
"When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you"

Friends, can you imagine what kind of team would be deployed for an integrated system? It would consist of material scientists, electronic engineers, bio-scientists, doctors and nano technicians. Science thrives when it converges to solve pressing challenges of the world and this is the 21st century requirement from engineers. Let me discuss more on this topic.

Harvard University experience: Convergence of science is reciprocating. Let me give an example. Sometime back, I was at the Harvard University where I visited laboratories of many eminent Professors from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I recall, how Professor Hongkun Park, showed me his invention of nano needles, which can pierce and deliver content into individual targeted cells. That?s how nano particle sciences are shaping the bio sciences. On the other hand, Professor Vinod Manoharan showed how bio sciences are shaping nano material science as well. He is using DNA material to design self assembling particles. When a particular type of DNA is applied on a particle at the atomic level, he is able to generate a prefixed behavior and automatic assembly from them. This could be our answer to self assembly of devices and colonies in deep space without human intervention as envisioned by Dr K Erik Drexler. Thus, within a single research building, I saw how two different sciences are shaping each other without any iron curtain between the technologists. This reciprocating contribution of sciences to one another is going to shape our future and industry needs to be ready for it.

Similarly, last year, I visited the University of Edinburgh, in the United Kingdom, where I met Professor Siddharthan Chandran who showed me the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. I was particularly impressed by the work being conducted in the field of early detection of mental and neural disorders. Professor Chandran showed his work on deploying technologies typically used by eye care professionals, and use it to help detect neural disorders. Using optical scanner devices, his team is mapping the inside of the eye, particular Retina. They are going further, and targeting the optical nerve, a small opening into the Retina which carries neurons and photo receptors from the eye to the brain. Using advanced technologies they are able to "peep" down the optical nerves for new millimeters and make a longitudinal and cross section image of it. I am sure, all the faculty members, particularly R.V Institute of Technology will ensure at-least three months project for every student using multiple technologies and multiple faculties.

Friends, few weeks back, I read an article in the journal called "Science" which talk about the latest DNA nano devices created at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) -- including a robot with movable arms, a book that opens and closes, a switchable gear, and an actuator. But there is something special about this project. It demonstrates a breakthrough in the science of using DNA as a programmable building material for nanometer-scale structures and machines. Results reveal a new approach to joining -- and reconfiguring -- modular 3D building units, by fitting together complementary shapes, like puzzle pieces, instead of zipping together strings of base pairs. This not only opens the way for practical nano-machines with moving parts, but also offers a toolkit that makes it easier to program their self-assembly. This is a new field popularly known as "DNA origami," in reference to the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which is advancing quickly towards practical applications. The researchers can control the joining of the nano-particles by altering the chemical ion concentration of the individual pieces. They are also controlling the joining pattern using temperature controls. Such controlled assembly robots can be useful for deep space applications or for fighting germs and pathogens inside human body. Thus, by using the bioscience of DNA interaction, with physics of temperature, chemistry of ion concentration they are realizing the mechanics of robotic assembly which potentially can be useful in the space science or medical field.

Now, a new trend is emerging. The aspect being introduced is that of Ecology. Globally, the demand is shifting towards development of sustainable systems which are technologically superior. This is the new dimension of the 21st century knowledge society, where science and environment will go together. Thus the new age model would be a four dimensional bio-nano-info-eco based. When technologies and systems converge, obviously one important aspect is "systems thinking and implementation".

Friends, let me now share a unique story from the life of Alexander Graham Bell and how he invented the telephone.
Great science emanates with a spirit of service
While, successful scientists surely make a lot of wealth, but their motivation is always beyond money. They think in terms of what change they can bring about in other peoples' life. Science is driven by compassion and empathy often to alleviate the pains of humanity.

Look at the telephone; it would remind you of a unique scientist, Alexander Graham Bell. He, besides being a great inventor, was also a man of great compassion and service. In fact, much of the research which led to the development of telephone was directed at finding solutions to the challenges of hearing impaired people in their ability to listen and also talk back. Alexander Graham Bell?s mother and his wife were both hearing impaired and it profoundly changed Bell outlook to science ? He aimed to make devices which would help the hearing impaired. He started a special school in Boston to teach hearing impaired people in novel ways. It was these lessons which inspired him to work with sound and led to the invention of telephone. Can you guess the name of the most famous student of Alexander Graham Bell? It was Helen Keller, the great author, activist and poet who was hearing and visually impaired. As a respect to her teacher, she once said, Bell dedicated his life to the penetration of that "inhuman silence which separates and estranges." I have written, with my friend, Srijan Pal Singh, about many such stories from the lives of greatest scientist in my recently published book, Reignited: Scientific Pathway to the Future.
Conclusion: what would you like to be remembered for?
Friends, finally I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation ? whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty or the page of finding new technologies for humankind.

My best wishes to the students, faculty members and staff of RV Institute of Technology, Bijnor, for success in the mission of creating enlightened citizens towards building a knowledge society.

May God bless you.
Eight point Oath for the Students
Engineering and Technology is a life time mission. I will work, work and work and succeed.

Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is what process or product I can innovate, invent or discover.

I realize I have to set a great technological goal that will lead me to think high, work and persevere to realize the goal.

My greatest friends will be great scientific/technological minds, good teachers and good books.

I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed.

I will work and work for removing the problems faced by planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste management and environment through the application of science and technology.

My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

By, Dr. APJ Abdulkalam

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