SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, July 12: Ace nuclear physicist Rajagopala Chidambaram considered the ‘Hero’ of Pokhran-2 nuclear tests in 1998, said Friday that Technology has a pivotal role to play in transforming quality of life in rural areas.
Delivering the inaugural address to the SRM Technical Summit 4.0 on the theme of ‘Pioneering Social Innovation’ , Chidambaram said, “When the quality of life in rural areas becomes comparable to urban areas, then only India can be considered a developed country.” Achieving the United Nations designated development goals is only the starting point, he said urging engineering student delegates from across the country to become creators of technology, not followers. This fourth T-Summit is a build up to the 13th edition of Aaruush, the national level Techno-Management Fest of SRMIST, scheduled from September 26.
Speaking on ‘Technology is Power’, he noted that Indian engineers would play an instrumental role in developing Gaganyan, the country’s first manned flight mission in space scheduled to be launched before 2022 and Chandrayan-2 with Lander and Rover later this year. Alluding to the Pokhran tests which he had supervised during his tenure, the former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman stressing the indigenous scientific effort said, “We stole knowledge from nobody.” In contrast, China and Pakistan benefitted from borrowed technology, he said.
On fears expressed by late physicist Stephen Hawking regard Artificial Intelligence taking control of human lives that might spell the end of the human race, Chidambaram said Roger Penrose of the Tesla group had debunked this theory by asserting that humans would always be smarter than AI.
Referring to futurologist Alvin Toffler’s famous quote, “Yesterday Violence was Power, Today Wealth is Power and Tomorrow Knowledge will be Power,” Chidambaram said, “Today Technology is Power.” The former director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre said Indian scientists and researchers had to be in the forefront to create new IP to make the country immune to technology control regimes imposed by certain developed nations.
In his keynote address, high energy physicist Dr Atul Gurtu who led a 70-member team which participated in the CERN Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, said collaboration and cooperation within the international team comprising was in itself a transforming experience as it made the scientists inter-dependent on one another.
Guest of honour, noted geologist andinc fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences Dr. Vikram Chandra Thakur, urged students to come up with solutions for environmental degradation of various hill towns in India in the Himalayan region. He expressed grave concern over the scenario of vanishing agricultural land and green cover due to expansion of concrete jungles. The water problem in river rich areas and reduction of water table in Punjab were matters of great concern, he said. He lamented that funding of projects to prevent landslides remained unimplemented on the ground.
In his presidential address, Director Engineering and Technology, Dr C Muthamizhchelvan, said higher education institutions were no longer rigid in offering multi-disciplinary courses if they resulted in more innovation in research. He asked engineering students to extend their interests beyond their selected courses. Dr V M Ponniah, Dean, Faculty of Management, welcomed the delegates from 24 institutions including IITs and NITs.