Meeting the Masters

Ever since I have entered COEP, I have had many opportunities to meet people who have reached the highest echelons in their own fiels. For the last few days I have been working with the organisation of the 73rd Anuual International Conference of Indian Mathematical Society. The conference seems to be running smoothly, and has also given me the chance to interact with great people.

Yesterday I met Sir Richard Hamilton, (Clay award winner and inventor of Ricci flows.). He is a mathematician known very well around. I was with him for around 3 hours, and had very close talk with him. It felt great to talk to such a great researcher. He has PhD from Princeton and teaches at Columbia. He was telling me that he loves teaching cuz teaching leads to his research results. In his words, “I mostly take my classes with the problems that intrigue me….I write the problem on the board…and tell my students that…see THIS is what I want to solve….and MAY BE…. doing THIS will help….well may be NOT…what shall be done….lets ponder over. ”

Imagine the way things are taught in Princeton and Columbia and suclikes. When will the day come, when COEP profs will write their research problems on board and ask students to help them.That needs alot of distance to be travelled by profs, as well as students. One may as a fancy bring in the Princeton teachers to COEP, but for it to work, the student intake has to be good enough in first place to be able to digest such things being taught in class. The moment I was talking to Hamilton, I was thinking at the back of my mind that, well, may be I should start looking at my engg studies with a diferent perspective. Hamilton asked me if I had any publications (Yay 🙂 ). I told him about my publicatiopns in Number theoretical cryptography and the encryption schemes.He appreciated the work and advised “Carry the research for fun, the moment you start expecting an award/reward out of it….the research fertility in you will die. ”

Moreover, I am extremely happy with the current COEP director, Dr. Sahasrabudhe. I was delighted when I heard my name at the Inaugural ceremony of the conference. I was standing in the wing as I was one of the organising team member, so I could nt neatly see him speak on the dais. But while elaborating on the achievements by COEPians in past and in present, he spoke about my PATW Final at Amsterdam. That was so nice of him. Moreover, during the VIP lunch, he called me and introduced me personally to Prataprao Pawar. Honestly speaking, it does nt feel so great when you receive the prize actually at the finals but it feels super-cool when your college director praises you in the auditorium in front of a mass of hundreds of people. Apart from these things, in general I do admire him for the way he has been working to take COEP to newer heights. He openly praises everyone.He will always forward the mail of any achievement by student or prof to the whole mailing list of students and teachers in college so that everyone knows about the achievements (and that by default brings a feel good fator). I have already started feeling that COEPians are super-achievers. See, we won the Firodiya, we won the BAJA SAE for automobile engg (beating IITs btw :P), we had 4 International Punblications this yr by Undergrads, we hosted 2 International Conferences, we got the International Student research accolades (PATW), and there seems to be a general trend of having top scorers in competitive exams like GATE CAT n GRE.There is no need to be complacent though.(Alarm 🙂 ) .

I interviewed Dr. S T Yau (Fields medallist) also. The onus(?) of interviewing Yau and Hamilton both was left to me as I was the one with the maximum experience of interviewing big-wigs through SACC (Thanks to Mohit Gundecha). Come to think of it…there was a lot to learn from Mohit. And some of the things that I have learnt from him are the ones I find really helpful these days. I feel lucky to have been with Mohit for at least an year.

As I type this post, I realise that I have nt had the chance to stop and think peacefuly about anything for the last few days. I have been so busy and am still going to busy for next copule of weeks. .The IMS conf on 27,28,29,30 Dec, the TYBtech Workshop (for which m the organizer) is scheduled on 30 31 dec and 1 jan. then on 5 n 6 jan the SACC workshop by Chinani (for which again m the member of organising team SACC), a visit to LOREAL plant on 7th Jan- For the LOREAL Ingenius 2008 National elims, 10-11 Jan to Mumbai for the IET International Conf on Wireless and Multimedia networks (In  which m presenting a paper of mine guided by Dr. Shim from US), then the LOReal finals on 14-15 and 16 Jan (if we clear the elims), the HP competition on 18 Jan…and then I am also supposed to work on Wavelet Transforms and Filter banks this month. I feel tired….

I feel like doing too many things at a time, but it just so happens that the responsibilites automatically are delegated, and I feel happy with that…until I am able to handle everything with good standards.(At least that has been the case so far.)

All the time I interview these great people…I envy them…for the kind of treatment they get, and the way they are revered. Someday, I want to grow big.

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