Thirst, search and research

SCIENCE IS his forte. Now, his empire is centred on researches in the field of Nanotechnology.

Meet V.V. Balaji Viswanathan, who has won several awards in different contests at various levels beginning from the college level to the international level. Now he is in the fray for the Young Inventors award 2003, an international title, with 11 other budding scientists of Asia. Hewlett Packard and Far Eastern Economy Review, supported by Dow Jones, are jointly conducting the competition at Singapore.

Admitting that he is a slow starter, Balaji, a final year Computer Science and Engineering student of the Thiagarajar College of Engineering, says, "owing to the constant official transfers of my father, I could not make a mark during my school days. My science activities started gaining momentum after I joined college. Now that I am settled in one place, I am able to make it to all levels".

His winning streak originated from an inter-collegiate competition held in Chennai, where he presented a device, along with his team mate Hassan Shan, to track and attack terrorists. It was a small craft, which can sense a suspect whose picture will be imaged in a small in-built computer. If the image matched the figure in the data base, it will emit a cyanide capsule to execute the target".

At the national level, he won a gold medal for his project — Using nuclear wastes to construct storage devices that store enormous data in computers — given by the Institution of Engineers India in September 2003. Now, he has presented the same subject to contest for the Young Inventors title.

Another notable honour was the second prize he won for his project — How to use brain as a communication device? — given by IIT, Kanpur in 2003.

In international contests, his presentation — Application of nanotechnological solutions for alleviation of Third World problems won him the second place in a contest organised by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, UK. In this presentation he mooted ideas on how to reduce expenditure on power generation and desalination of seawater.

Winning national level contests has always been his forte. Likewise, his papers had never failed to get an honourable mention in several journals across the world.

I have made presentations on anti-missile defence, revolutionary mechanisms for storing data in computers, traffic management using evolutionary tracking methods, a study on tapping thoughts from the human brain, etc.

The best honour for his works, according to Balaji, is his meetings with President Abdul Kalam. "I was elated as the President went through my papers word by word and raised some doubts. He gave some useful tips and guidance to contact some eminent persons who can help me in my research work".

This 20-year-old Madurai-based researcher, who has met Abdul Kalam thrice, says, "the advice of the President, serve India and work for nation's development, is a gospel to me and I will fulfil it".

The current aspiration of Balaji is to win the Rolex Award for Enterprise, given once in two years. "I have submitted a paper on the storage device. The results will be out in May next".

About his higher education, he says, "I have applied for doing a doctorate to three universities in the US, the Stanford University, the Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and research on new type of computation architecture, power generation and water desalination using nanotechnology principles and fabrication of carbon nanotubes at cheaper costs. The World Nuclear Association has sent a letter offering to provide all material support on nuclear materials".

According to him, "currently, the computers are executing only one instruction at a time through one processor. But, the processor, which I am trying to device with nanotechonology principles, will accept any number of instructions. If the processor is successfully designed, then it will play a crucial role in future computers, which will be several times faster than the present supercomputers. The next is the use of solar cells for generating power and desalination of seawater. Both seem to be expensive now. By using solar cells through an appropriate mechanism the cost involved in this process could be cut down drastically. Currently, several researches are underway on how to make optimal use of carbon nanotubes, as the raw materials are easily available for making them. But the cost of fabrication of these tubes are steep and my research is to find out a new system to reduce the expenditure involved".

"I always have an unquenched thirst for science, and in my childhood it was sharpened by my parents, V.H.Viswanathan and Saratha. They provided me the necessary materials, which helped me to further my science knowledge and make it to this level today. Now, it is the turn of my grand father, V.V.Hariharan", says Mr. Balaji.

Hinduism is the other area, which has fascinated him. He has written a paper "How karma yoga, vegetarianism and ahimsa agree with modern philosophy?" This has been published in a UK-based journal, Philosophical Quarterly.

"I am doing this all for the development and welfare of Mother India and dedicate the benefits of my research to the nation as per the wish of my role model — Abdul Kalam", was the parting shot of Mr. Balaji.


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