Physics and Philosophy is a strange combination. But it can be an interesting one if Gali Sai Manoj, a scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is observed closely.

Manoj, a winner of the TOEFL India 2012 Scholarship is mad about Physics and argues the world revolves around it, but at the same time his inner happiness comes from his service at the Ramakrishna Missions. Manoj, who is the only one from the State among the 10 winners of the TOEFL scholarships, will pursue his Post Graduation at the University of Augsburg, Germany which is the host university for the famous Erasmus Mundus Programme.

Hailing from Guntakal, he secured his Mechanical Engineering degree from Dr. MGR University in Chennai and joined ISRO because of his love for Physics as it constitutes to the behaviour of surroundings and the governing dynamics which had contributed to the human existence. After a few years of work experience, he has now decided to pursue his Masters and the TOEFL scholarship has helped him.

Competing with thousands of other aspirants, he got US $ 5,000 scholarship which will suffice his first year fee. He will shift to Bordeaux University, France in the second year and complete his Ph.D, all of which is completely funded. With regard to TOEFL, he believes that students should concentrate on the four sections as to develop comprehensive understandings of the communication patterns that one would encounter as a student in the Western or European countries.

Manoj says pursuing Masters after a few years of work experience helped him find out his passion. “In work our analytical skills improve as we directly deal with the situations. Such experience contributes immensely in higher studies,” he says.

Despite being immersed in the functionalities of Physics, Manoj feels he extracts satisfaction from a totally different field – Philosophy. “I was influenced by my uncles and aunts who are part of the Ramakrishna Mission,” he says. He shares his expertise through training and technical workshops organised for higher secondary and engineering students through Ramakrishna Missions.

Interestingly, his wife, also a Mechanical Engineer and his colleague at ISRO supports his causes. The duo prefers transferring their tech-knowledge to others through such activities. A fan of Rabindranath Tagore, Manoj also writes poetry. “But that is in tune with my philosophical approach,” says the son of a railway employee. Manoj envisions himself as a researcher or scientist in the field of material physics in the next 5 to 10 years.

“For the third consecutive year, ETS is proud to be able to recognise the talent and academic achievement of TOEFL test takers in India,” said Scott Nelson, Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs, ETS that conducts TOEFL. He said applicants were judged on English communication skills, leadership skills and extracurricular activities.

This year the TOEFL scholarship winners come from a variety of locations throughout India and they will be studying worldwide at acclaimed universities in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States. Valued at approximately US$ 70,000, the scholarships recognise the academic excellence of TOEFL test takers throughout India.