Visit by Dr. Kalam

Visit by Dr. Kalam

"Convergence of Technology leads to an Economically Developed India"

I am indeed delighted to be here with scientists, researchers, experts and guests from Sami Labs here in Bangalore. My greetings to all of you.

Friends, for the past 15 years, Sami Lab has been working towards giving research leadership in the domains of multinational health sciences and production of nutraceuaticals, cosmececuticals, herbal extracts, fine chemicals, specialty chemicals and probiotics. It has research expertise in many other domains such as flow cytometry, microbiological research, tissue culture, synthetic chemistry and phytochemistry.

I am happy to know that Sami Lab has grown to six manufacturing facilities across the nation and also in Utah, USA. I am glad to know that Sami Lab envisions to create products which are "designed to deliver" and hence meet international expectations and norms and today this lab has 92 US and International Patents. I congratulate all of you for such these achievements.

I was thinking when I am in the midst of researchers from various expertise areas, scientists and entrepreneurs in technology, what thoughts can I share with you. Friends, for any nation to be developed, it is important that the science and technology is of the cutting edge. Nations which have grown rapidly in economy have first exponentially grown in their technological competence. Hence, today, I am going to discuss with all of you on the topic of Convergence of Technology leads to an Economically Developed India.

Dear friends, first I would like to share my thoughts particularly with the young and experienced scientists of Sami Labs.

Fifth nation syndrome

As a Senior Scientific Assistant in DTDP(Air) I was working in ADE in the development of the hovercraft. During 1960, I was introduced to Sir James Michael Lighthill of Royal Society, who is an expert in supersonic flow, while he was visiting DTDP (Air) establishments and NAL. My Director Dr. Mediratta asked me to explain my work to Prof. Lighthill. I took him to the hovercraft and explained and later flew him in the hovercraft for over half an hour with all the maneuvers. After the flight, Prof Lighthill said, "Kalam, in UK operational hovercraft is getting ready. After seeing you, flying a beautiful hovercraft, I am sure; India is nearly becoming the second nation in development of hovercraft technology."

At ISRO, when we launched SLV-3, we were told by the world that we are the fourth nation in launch vehicle technology. When PSLV was launched by ISRO, again we were told that we are the fourth nation developing such systems.

When DRDO launched Agni-V, it was told that they are fourth nation in the world. When DRDO launched underwater missile recently, we have proclaimed that we are the third nation.

When India became a nuclear weapon state in 1998, the world called us the fifth nation to develop nuclear weapons. India entered into super computer development two decades ago. At that time, it was told, this will make India third or fourth nation to have super computer capability.

I call this as 'India going through the fifth nation syndrome'. To break the fifth nation syndrome, we need massive effort by the young creative minds who are research focused. We have to inspire the young creative minds with the spirit "I can do it, and they will ensure that they will break the fifth nation syndrome through innovation, creativity and culture of excellence.

Culture of excellence

Friends, you all belong to an organization which stands for a culture of excellence. And excellence is not by accident. It is a process, where an individual, organization, or nation continuously strives to better oneself. The performance standards are set by themselves, they work on their dreams with focus and are prepared to take calculated risks and do not be deterred by failures as they move towards their dreams. Then they step up their dreams as they tend to reach the original targets. They strive to work to their potential, in the process, they increase their performance thereby multiplying further their potential, and this is an unending life cycle phenomenon. They are not in competition with anyone else, but themselves. That is the culture of excellence.

I have been discussing with the young and experienced on the vision of the nation and how each one, whatever be his or her professional orientation, can contribute to the pillars of development. As I envisage, the pillars of Indian development profile 2020 are as follows:

Distinctive Profile of India by 2020:

  1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
  2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
  3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
  4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
  5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
  6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
  7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
  8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
  9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
  10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership.

Convergence of Technologies:

The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology(ICT). Information Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. Similarly, Photonics is grown out from the labs to converge with classical Electronics and Microelectronics to bring in new high speed options in consumer products. Flexible and unbreakable displays using thin layer of film on transparent polymers have emerged as new symbols of entertainment and media tools. Now, Nano-technology has come in. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science. I am sure about the use of nano-robot for drug delivery. When Nano technology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots. Nano robots when they are injected into a patient, my expert friends say, it will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then the nano-robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product. I saw the product sample in one of the labs in South Korea where best of minds with multiple technology work with a target of finding out of the box solution.

My experience in Harvard University: Convergence of science is reciprocating. Let me give an example. Recently, I was at the Harvard University where I visited laboratories of many eminent Professors from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I recall, how Professor Hongkun Park, showed me his invention of nano needles, which can pierce and deliver content into individual targeted cells. That's how nano particle sciences are shaping the bio sciences. On the other hand, Professor Vinod Manoharan showed how bio sciences is shaping nano material science as well. He is using DNA material to design self assembling particles. When a particular type of DNA is applied on a particle at the atomic level, he is able to generate a prefixed behavior and automatic assembly from them. This could be our answer to self assembly of devices and colonies in deep space without human intervention as envisioned by Dr K Erik Drexler. Thus, within a single research building, I saw how two different sciences are shaping each other without any iron curtain between the technologists. This reciprocating contribution of sciences to one another is going to shape our future and industry needs to be ready for it.

Similarly, last month, I visited the University of Edinburgh, in the United Kingdom, where I met Professor Siddharthan Chandran who showed me the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. I was particularly impressed by the work being conducted in the field of early detection of mental and neural disorders.

Professor Chandran showed his work on deploying technologies typically used by eye care professionals, and use it to help detect neural disorders. Using optical scanner devices, his team is mapping the inside of the eye, particular Retina. They are going further, and targeting the optical nerve, a small opening into the Retina which carries neurons and photo receptors from the eye to the brain. Using advanced technologies they are able to "peep" down the optical nerves for new millimeters and make a longitudinal and cross section image Of it.

Friends, are you ready to bring down the iron curtain existing between various technological and management disciplines.

Now, a new trend is emerging. The aspect being introduced is that of Ecology. Globally, the demand is shifting towards development of sustainable systems which are technologically superior. This is the new dimension of the 21st century knowledge society, where science and environment will go together. Thus the new age model would be a four dimensional bio-nano-info-eco based. When technologies and systems converge, obviously one important aspect is "systems thinking and implementation".

Friends, in any establishment, any organization, always one demand that will come in front of you, that is: the experience of system design, system integration, and system management of the assignment or the task to be undertaken by you. I would like to present my experience of learning system design, system integration and system management while I was studying aeronautical engineering in MIT, Chennai, (1954-57) during the third year of my course.

Learning integrated system design :

I was assigned a project to design a low-level attack aircraft together with six other colleagues. I was given the responsibility of system design and system integration by integrating the team members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and structural design of the project. The other five of my team took up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and instrumentation of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof. Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. He reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and disappointing. He didn't lend an ear to my difficulties in bringing together data base from multiple designers. I asked for a month's time to complete the task, since I had to get the inputs from five of my colleagues without which I cannot complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look, young man, today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days time. If by Monday morning I don't get the configuration design, your scholarship will be stopped." I had a jolt in my life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot continue with my studies. There was no other way out but to finish the task. My team felt the need for working together round the clock. We didn't sleep that night, working on the drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just an hour's break. On Sunday morning, I was near completion, when I felt someone's presence in my laboratory. It was Prof. Srinivasan studying my progress. After looking at my work, he patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of appreciation: "I knew I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done great job in system design".

Through this review mechanism Prof Srinivasan, really injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by each team member and brought out engineering education has to lead system design, system integration and system management. I realized that if something is at stake, the human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets enhanced manifold. That's what exactly happened. This is one of the techniques of building talent.

The message is that young in the organization, whatever is their specialization, be trained to systems approach and projects, which will prepare them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher organizational responsibilities.

Friends you should get ready to acquire knowledge in an integrated way for using multiple disciplines towards product development and its management.

Let me now talk about an important aspect which is needed in all organizations. We have to ensure that the entrepreneurial community has to work with integrity and succeed with integrity. Is it possible?

Profit with integrity :

Profit with integrity leads to sustained growth. How is it possible? We need to have National ethics for sustained growth and peace. Where from it starts?
  • Nation has to have ethics in all its tasks, for sustained economic prosperity and peace.
  • If nation is to have ethics; society has to promote ethics and value system.
  • If society is to have ethics and value system, families should adhere to ethics and value system;
  • If families have to get evolved with ethics and value system, parenthood should have inbuilt ethics.
  • Parental ethics come from great learning, value based education and creation of clean environment that leads to righteousness in the heart.
Let us all resolve: we will carry this message to our home, family, business, state and the nation.

Conclusion: Qualities of Leadership

Friends, I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space Program of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), AGNI program of DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas. I would like to convey to you, what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes.

  1. Leader must have a vision.
  2. Leader must have a passion to accomplish the mission.
  3. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.
  4. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.
  5. Leader must have courage to take decision.
  6. Leader should have Nobility in management.
  7. Every action of the leader should be transparent.
  8. Leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

I have been discussing these essential traits of creative leaders with people of eminence in different areas and students from India and abroad. Apart from this what is needed is the spirit among the youth that "I can do it, we can do it and the nation can do it." Our educational institutions, our government and our companies have to concentrate on developing the leadership traits and the confidence to perform among every youth of the nation. This quality of leadership will certainly empower the nation with sustainable development as its focus.

My best wishes to all the members Sami Labs success in the mission of developing quality technological human resource for the nation and the world.

May God bless you.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


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