Special Correspondent

Kalam opens High Temperature Material Characterisation Laboratory at MIT

CHENNAI: Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Friday exhorted students and researchers to be innovative and creative as this alone could ensure India’s economic development. Exhort

Speaking at the Rajam Hall of the Madras Institute of Technology after inaugurating the High Temperature Material Characterisation Laboratory and ‘MIT Athenaeum 2008,’ he said students should no longer restrict their academic and research activities to the branch of engineering they were pursuing.

“You can study automobile, aeronautics or instrumentation engineering, but you must interact with researchers and faculty of other streams too,” Dr. Kalam said, recalling his own experience of being a member of the team that designed a low-level attack aircraft as a student between 1954 and 1957.

Part of design team

He was part of the design team, while other students were given the responsibility of guidance, structure and propulsion. “My component of the project was behind schedule and I was warned that my scholarship would go. We worked day and night and there was no time to relax. In the end, the then director of MIT, Srinivasan, was impressed.” He said in the past nine months since September, after he stepped down as president, he had interacted with staff and students of 19 universities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Some of the universities there had developed solar-powered and robotic cars.

The famous Blackberry mobile phone was the product of research at Waterloo University, he pointed out.

Such research and development in these universities had enriched the quality of teaching, Dr. Kalam said and hoped that similar models would be emulated in institutions like MIT.

P. Mannar Jawahar, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, and A. Joseph Stanley, Dean, MIT, spoke. Dr. Stanley said the High Temperature Characterisation Laboratory was sponsored by the Defence Research and Development Organisation at a cost of Rs.5 crore. The facility would meet some of the requirements of space and defence organisations apart from providing an opportunity for research scholars to pursue their work in high-tech areas.