Malayali student accepted as research scientist at NASA in the U.S.

A boy from Kerala will soon be joining those elite scientists in their search for the existence of extraterrestrial life, working from his own workstation at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S.

P.V. Arun is thrilled at being accepted as a research scientist at NASA as he spoke to The Hindu about his achievements on the sidelines of a felicitation programme organised by the Institute of Human Resources Development here on Tuesday. An alumnus of the College of Engineering, Poonjar, under the IHRD, he has secured admission to a research programme at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), U.S. He will be joining as a research scientist at the NASA to explore, in his own words “extraterrestrial elements with the use of remote sensing.”

“I am informed that I will be assigned to the study of Geo-intelligence framework for Astro biological research, a subject that I closely worked during my research proposals,” said Arun, an M.Tech. graduate from NIT, Bhopal.

For Arun, NASA was never part of his dream. What he had was a curious mind to learn anything and everything about artificial intelligence. All theses years the Internet was his window to the world of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence

“I was interested in computer science from my childhood days. In my college years, I felt that core engineering was not about learning the programming languages but in understanding the basics and brining out innovations. Thus I concentrated on research-oriented works and nothing interested me as much as artificial intelligence,” said Arun.

Though he was offered job opportunities by companies, including Infosys, he was determined not to join the bandwagon of information technology professionals. His family stood by him in his decision to reject job offers and he is thankful to his parents for letting him study even when the financial situation at home demanded otherwise.

Motivation also came from his teachers who encouraged him to go ahead with his ideas. He was also inspired by the former President and Indian Space Research Organisation scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. “I had discussed with him some of the project ideas during my M.Tech. days and he was a source of inspiration. He helped me understand that science should be simplified enough for a layman to take interest,” said Arun.

Arun sees this journey as an opportunity to “gain as much knowledge and experience as possible” and plans to return home and work for the ISRO.

“Though India has much to progress in the field of artificial intelligence, the change is not far away. In seven to eight years, we will forge ahead in this area and I want to be a part of that growth,” Arun lists his future goals.

“One needs to identify his talent and skills and work towards exploring them,” he shares his success lessons.