Monday, October 26, 2009

Prof. Roddam Narasimha visits IIIT

Prof. Narasimha was the speaker for BPUT convocation. He was to arrive in Bhubaneswar on 23rd, proceed to Rourkela, return to Bhubaneswar on 25th and fly back to Bangalore. VC Prof. Mohanty requested us to take care of him when he is in Bhubaneswar.

We received Prof. Narasimha at the airport. I had not met Prof. Narasimha before. Prof. Ajit Das had seen his photograph in his homepage. After trying three people, we could guess him right. We took him to the Raj Bhavan. As usual Raj Bhavan was full of bells and whistles. We had a tea with him. Then, we met the Governor HE Bhandare. He was watching golf on a tv channel while meeting his guests. He discussed about state of research India. After meeting the Governor, Prof. Narasimha proceeded for lunch. We discussed about the possibility of his addressing the students. He agreed to do that on Sunday.

On Saturday, we informed the students about the Lecture. We made it compulsory for resident students and optional for the day scholars. Some resident students wanted to go home for the weekend. We denied their request. One student said her parents have already come to take her home. Another said her mother has already cooked for her and it will be wasted if she doesn't go. We paid a deaf ear to all excuses and said no.

Prof Ajit Das picked Prof Narasimha and came to the campus. I went to IIIT right away. I ensured that the sound system etc were functioning. The lecturer was well attended. Prof Narasimha spoke about the research challenges he had faced in his very long career. He urged to students to pick research as a career. The students asked a few questions.

We took Prof. Narasimha to the Airport. Prof. Mohanty met us there. The flight was delayed for about 2 hours. Prof. Mohanty suggested we go to Khandagiri and Udayagiri. I had not visited the two hillocks for more than 10 years. Prof. Mohanty spoke at length about the historical significance of the two hills. He took Prof. Narasimha to the Airport.

I was impressed by the simplicity and scholarship of Prof. Narasimha. His knowledge about history, mythology was impressive. He is 76 and yet a very active researcher. I hope that his inspiration will work and some students will be motivated to take research as a career.

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