Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
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17-12-2005 : Kochi
Nothing is Impossible

I am indeed delighted to interact with the students of Pragati International Residential School, Kochi. My Greetings to the Principal, teachers, parents and students.

My message

Dear Children, you are all in the mission of learning. What learning will give?

?When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms.

When the creativity blossoms, thinking emanates.

When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit.

When knowledge is lit, the society is enriched.?

On 14th December 05, I inaugurated the National Energy Conservation Day organized by the Ministry of Power. As a part of national campaign on Energy Conservation 2005 the Ministry had organized a school level painting competition amongst 3.5 lakh students of fourth and fifth class belonging to over 17,500 schools spread in different parts of the country. I saw the beautiful paintings of the winners of this competition. It was really a creative effort by many children and focused on how in home energy can be saved by allowing natural light, use of solar power and wind power and also following certain best practices to conserve the energy.

Similarly in a programme called ?Mapping the Neighborhood? initiated by the Department of Science and Technology at Almora district in Uttaranchal, children from 20 schools have been motivated to use mapping techniques to investigate and map basic socio-economic, environmental and ecological issues being faced by the neighborhood community. Armed with the scientific and technological tools such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), Space Imagery incorporated in the hand held computers; the children are creating maps with the neighborhood details to improve their understanding of the immediate environment. These maps will enable further the technological community to find solutions for the regeneration of fast disappearing natural sources of water, improving road connectivity, finding better locations for electricity and water distribution points, reducing traffic congestion and improved systems of garbage collection. This school can initiate such type of programme and children can participate for environmental upgradation and energy conservation. Since I am in the midst of young children, I would like to narrate to you how great scientists got shaped when they were young.


Teachers influence

In Albert Einstein life, we find that his interest in science started early, beginning with his encounter with magnetism, which he called ?the first miracle?. He was given a compass by his father and Einstein was endlessly fascinated by the fact that invisible forces could make object move. This experience made a lasting impression on him. His interest in compasses was reinforced when he found a caring mentor to hone his ideas. At the age of 12, he experienced second wonder in a little book given by his mentor Max Talmud with Euclidean plain Geometry which he called ?Holy Geometry Book?. Einstein called this his ?second miracle?. Here Einstein made contact with the realm of pure thought. Without expensive laboratories or equipment, he could explore universal truth, limited only by the power of human mind. Mathematics became an endless source of pleasure to Einstein especially if intriguing puzzle and mysteries were involved.

Visualizing pictures: Einstein?s father was in an electro chemical business. Being in the midst of electro magnetic contraptions awakened an intuitive understanding of electricity and magnetism in Albert Einstein. It sharpens his ability to develop graphic, physical pictures that would describe the laws of nature with uncanny accuracy. This trait, the ability to see everything in terms of physical pictures, would mark one of Einstein?s greatest characteristics as a physicist.

Freedom to Learn : Though born in Germany, Einstein moved to Zurich Polytechnic Institute in Switzerland. The entry into the polytechnic did not require a high school diploma, just a passing grade on its tough entrance examination was sufficient. Einstein failed in the entrance examination but he did exceptionally well in the Maths and Physics section. That impressed the Principal and he promised to take him during the following year without an entrance test. The message we get from this experience is about having a flexible system of admission. Also an ability to spot the aptitude of the student in a particular subject and nourishing the talents. In addition, Einstein enjoyed the liberal atmosphere of the Swiss school.

Simplicity in description: Unlike lesser scientists who often got lost in Mathematics, Einstein got in terms of simple physical picture ? speeding trains, falling elevators, rockets and moving clocks. These pictures would unerringly guide him through the greatest ideas of the twentieth century. He wrote ?All physical theories, their mathematical expression notwithstanding, ought to lend themselves to so simple a description that even a child could understand?. This is a very important message for all physics researchers and physics teachers. Here the birth of famous simple, elegant and very powerful energy equation E=MC2, which decided war and peace system of the world. Now I would like to discuss about the Nobel Laureate towards Raman Effect.


Towards Raman Effect

Why is the sea blue? The view has been expressed that the dark blue of the deep sea has nothing to do with the color of water. It is simply the blue of the sky seen by reflection. Sir CV Raman then questions this view describing his own experiment on board the ship: Observations made in this way in the deeper waters of Mediterranean and Red sea showed that the color so far, from being impoverished by suppression of sky reflection was wonderfully improved here by. It was abundantly clear from the observation that the blue color of the deep sea is a distinct phenomenon itself and not merely an effect due to reflected sky light. Later Raman draws attention to the connection between the color of deep waters and the Einstein Smoluchowski formula. Naturally he starts with that the sky is blue because of scattering of light by the molecules in the upper atmosphere. The color of the sea is a different matter. Rayleigh believes it was all due to reflection, but Raman gives an entirely different view, that in this phenomenon, as in the parallel case of the color of sky, molecular diffraction determines the observed luminosity and in great measures also its color. Hence the birth of the Raman Effect. Now I would like to discuss with you on the topic ?for creative mind nothing is impossible?.


Nothing is impossible?

Human flight is nothing but creativity of human mind and it undergoes several struggles to achieve excellence. In 1895, a great well-known scientist Lord Kelvin, who was the President of Royal Society of London said, ?any thing heavier than air cannot fly, and cannot be flown.? Within a decade, Wright Brothers proved man could fly of course at heavy risk and cost.

On the successful completion of Moon Mission in 1969, Von Braun, a very famous rocket designer, who built Saturn-V, to launch the capsule with astronauts and made moon walk a reality, in 1975 said ?If I am authorized, I will remove the word impossible?.

In ancient days, Ptolemaic astronomy is a widely used system in calculating the dynamics of various stars and planets. Assumption by then was that the earth is flat. What a scientific struggle had to take place to prove that the earth is spherical in shape orbiting around the sun. The three great astronomers Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had to give a new dimension to the world of astronomy. Today we take it for granted that earth is a globe, orbiting around the sun, and the sun orbits in the Milky Way. All the technological advancements we have today are the outcome of scientific exploration of scientists of earlier centuries. At no time, man was beaten by problems. He strives continuously to subjugate impossibility and then succeeds.

According to the laws of aerodynamics the bumble bee should never be able to fly. Because of the size, weight, and shape of its body in relationship to the total wing span, flying is scientifically impossible. The bumble bee, being ignorant of scientific theory, goes ahead and flies anyway. I would like the youth assembled here to take a lesson from these examples and work to make everything possible.


Diverting Asteroids

A few days back one important event took place in space. That was the impact of the NASA spacecraft called deep impact smashing into the comet Tempel-I, with enough force to create football stadium sized crater with a depth of a 14 storey building. The spacecraft was navigated by an Indian Shyam Bhaskaran ? the deep impact traveled 431 million kms in 172 days escaping from the earth orbit and intercepted the comet at a straight distance from earth at 134 million km. the comet was orbiting around the Sun every five and half years. This is a land mark in space exploration.

This event is important to divert asteroids which may hit the earth in future. One such large asteroid 1950 AD is expected to hit the earth on March 16, 2880 AD and nearly one third of the earth will be damaged. Like the ?Deep Impact? one spacecraft is required to be sent with high energy material to divert or break the asteroid to move it out of the present orbit.


Conclusion: Empowerment

When a child is empowered by the parents at various phases of growth, the child gets transformed into a responsible citizen. When a teacher is empowered with knowledge and experience, good young human beings with value systems emerge. When an individual or a team is empowered with technology, transformation to higher potential for achievement is assured. When a leader of any village empowers his or her people, leaders are born who can change the nation in multiple areas. When women are empowered, society with stability gets assured. When the political leaders of the nation empower the people through visionary policies, the prosperity of the nation is certain. When religions are empowered and become spiritual force, peace and happiness will blossom in people's heart. Empowerment of various layers of management structure is indeed the best instrument to maximize the performance of a given fund to the developmental tasks. I am sure empowered children of this school will play an important role in transforming India into a developed nation.

My best wishes to you all for success in your educational career. May God bless you.

Now, I would like to administer a six point oath to the students. Are you ready?


Six Point Oath

1. I will pursue my education with dedication and I will excel in it.

2. I will plant at least 5 saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care.

3. I will constantly endeavor to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.

4. I will work for becoming an enlightened citizen and make my family righteous.

5. I will always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and will work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us.

6. We the children of Kerala promise that we will work hard with honesty to transform our State into a developed State. Happy and prosperous Kerala will make happy and prosperous India.



Courage to think different,

Courage to invent,

Courage to discover the impossible,

Courage to combat the problems and succeed,

Are the unique qualities of youth.

I, as a youth of my nation, will work with courage for the prosperity of my nation.


Interaction session Pragati International School, Kochi

Reeba Annie Mammen, 10th Standard

1. Sir, Our country recently had recorded number of natural disasters. How can ISRO help in predicting these natural calamities?

Ans. Earthquake is a sub terrain phenomenon and predicting this from space observations would be a great challenge. An Earthquake phenomenon in broader sense starts to produce some precursors before the final rupture, although this precursor generating pre-rupture stage is not usually regarded as part of an earthquake. The question is whether such precursor really exists or not. So-called pre-slip envisaged in the dynamic models of earthquake source is also a good theoretical possibility but its observation appears difficult. Precise geodetic measurement by GPS may succeed in the detection of the pre-slip. It seems that electromagnetic phenomena prior to final rupture may be promising. Space observation will provide certain precursors in this direction, particularly the change in electromagnetic spectrum.

Rahul V.J ? 10th Standard

2. Dear sir, I study in standard 10 and my desire is to become an astro ?physicist ,what all steps I must take to realize my ambition ?

Ans. First you should excel in your 10th class examination, later you take up maths, physics and chemistry, and excel in 12th Board. Subsequently, you should complete your physics honours. This will enable you to do astro physics in your post-graduate programme.

Liza ? 12th Standard

3. Dear President, I speak on behalf of eight of my friends, Is it possible to include space science and technology as a subject of study in school ?

Ans. School can definitely have special projects on space science and technology. I know of a group of students from Bishop Cotton School, Bangalore who designed and fabricated a small rocket. Such exercises can always be done by the school in collaboration with ISRO. School can always conduct a special lecture for the students by the specialists of the space department.

Deepa Menon - 12th Standard

4. Sir Recently we had IAS and IPS and other examinations, why not and Indian science service to motivate us to take science & research?

Ans. I have suggested constitution of a science cadre. The selection for this cadre will be through a special examination. For your information, DRDO conducts an examination for recruiting scientists on an yearly basis. You can definitely apply for this.

Vishnu Vijay ? 10th Standard

5. Sir, Brain drain has been a great threat to India and other developing countries, Can it affect the great vision of yours Vision 2020, in the case of India?

Ans. India produces about 300,000 professionals like engineers, doctors etc. each year. There is nothing wrong in some of them going abroad for work. Indians maintain umbilical connectivity with their homes and educational institutions even when they are abroad. This connectivity provides very good input for the nation.

Sreejith A.G ? 12th Standard

6. Sir, recently the Indo-US Edusat network was launched, so through such developmental measures will India be able to attain 100% literacy by 2020 ?

Ans. Yes. Our aim is to make quality education reach every corner of the country. EDUSAT combined with Universal Tele-education system will enable us to realise 100% literacy.

Hinduja S Nair - 12th Standard

7. Sir, Through your work ??Vision 2020 ? Wings of Fire ? and ?Ignited Minds ? You have asked the youth to lead a journey forward with optimism .How far is the Indian youth in this journey? What are our drawbacks and how should we change it?

Ans. Indian Youth are working hard and they are on the right track. We should develop a feeling that we can do it. This will enable us to achieve the most difficult goal.

Indulal ? 7th Standard

8. Sir, Life as you once said is a mixture of unsolved problems ambiguous Victories and amorphous defeats. So what shall we do when we get discouraged?

Ans.When you do a mission you will always encounter problems, problems should never become your masters. You should defeat the problems and succeed. This is what my Guru taught me right in the year 1973.

Sudhindra Mohan ? 10th Standard

9. Sir , You dream of seeing India as a developed country within the next two decades, can you give five points to students to resort to contribute and make your dream a reality?

Ans. (1) Excel in your studies, fix your goal and work for achieving it.

(2) Educate 5 people who cannot read and write

(3) Plant 5 saplings and nurture it.

(4) Conserve energy and avoid wastage

(5) Create a cleanliness drive in your area with the help of other students.

Swetha Sugathan ? 7th Standard

10. Sir, We say that space is vast, Why is there no end for Space?

Ans. Space is curved and has a multi-dimensional flow. It is a nature?s gift.

Saranya ? 7th Standard

11. Sir, Many of the talented children today have bad temperaments and attitudes What should be done to improve the life values?

Ans. The values of life, temperament and attitude can be built only by the parents at home and teachers. Whatever values they want to build among the children they must practice the values first. If this is strictly adhered to children will imbibe those values.

Akhila, 10th Standard

12. Sir, We are becoming more westernized and forgetting our culture and heritage. How can we develop self belief and make people strengthen our cultural heritage ?

Ans. When I look at the response of people to the earthquake victims in Kashmir or Tsunami victims in South India I can definitely say that our people are preserving our cultural heritage of helping others when they are in difficulty. Same is not found in many other parts of the world. This tradition must be strengthened by the parents at home and the teachers in school. I would recommend conduct of one hour moral science class per week in every school to create an awareness about our cultural heritage.

Nimish Joseph ? 7th Standard

13. Sir, In the recent agreement with the U S India is supposed to clearly demarcate the civil usage of the nuclear programme. Sir, What is the criteria for demarcation ? How do we demarcate ?

Ans. What ever we are using for nuclear power purposes has to be separated.

Aditi Mishra - 5th Standard

14. Hon?ble Sir, How are we Indians going to implement the Chandrayan programme ? Ans. ISRO has all the potential and competence to implement this programme.




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