The first two chapters of my new book is available here
Who am I?
A curious geek and explorer
Arguing about which series is better, the Famous Five or the Hardy Boys
My family and I at a temple in Darjeeling
From when I was a kid, I remember being very curious and always asking questions about literally everything. My parents were very patient with me and always tried to answer my
questions intuitively. As both of them are from a semi-academia background, I consider myself lucky because of the mindset with which I was brought up. My mother, who is a professor
of English, encourgaed me to start reading books. This was the best thing that ever happened to me because there was simply so much that I could read about and I was never bored.
I also ended up learning something new everyday. More about my love for books later...
I also got to travel a lot. My father, who worked as a nuclear reactor physicist in the Department of Atomic Energy, India, had to visit different establishments in different parts of the country and would take us quite often along with him.
During this, I explored a lot
. And here's the best part, although I had no idea what science was, I was attracted by how glamarous it looked. When a conference was going on,
I'd sit and watch it from the outside and see my father drawing stuff on the blackboard and people nodding their heads appreciatively. I so badly wanted to be a part of that.
During these visits, I got to explore the sandy beaches of Mumbai, the snowy mountains of Sikkim, and guess what, the little town of Jülich in Germany. Yep, I studied a part of my
second grade there. I loved my studies there for one main reason. I had been taught multiplication as a set of tables to remember, but at school in Germany, when the teacher saw me
struggle in memorizing these tables (my ability to memorize stuff is bad), she told me about how multiplication is simply a fancy way of adding things. I was so excited that day!
Long story short, these opportunities and a lot more since then, has equipped me to take on life's problems with a positive attitude. I can find solutions to problems creatively
and if I can't find a solution to a particulary difficult problem, that's alright. I take a little break and then attack it. If all problems were easy to solve, life wouldn't be that
interesting, would it?
Because it feels like it's Physics's cooler younger brother
A scaled down prototype of a Smider road divider for road automation we built at the GIZ Techathon, Hyderabad, India (our team was placed first, by the way)
Throughout high school, I was deeply interested in Math and Physics. I had started reading books like Boas's "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences", Resnick's "Introduction
to Special Relativity", and one of my favourites, Beiser's "Concepts of Modern Physics". Although I loved these books, I wanted to do something a little more pragmatic. On doing
a little bit of research, I decided that the best way for me to go about would be to either go into experimental physics, or electrical engineering. My father is a physicist, and
he said that electrical engineering could help me develop a deeper understanding of the practical world because it was easier, and then, if I still had the inclination to go into
physics, I could contribute there. My neighbour happens to work in the electronics departement at the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore. She is an electrical engineer, but works
all day with studying distant stars through radio astronomy.
And this is why, I ended up doing my engineering.
What I have done
What I have done since I started college three years ago
Spectrogram of data recieved at the Ooty Array Telescope from the Vela Pulsar (duration of 1 second)
I have tried a lot of fields in engineering to see where I fit in. I was bad at many, but I was good at many too. Here are some of the things I have been doing-
- Analysis tool development for faster analysis of data that is produced by TCADs when building solid state devices (for the Departement of Electronics Systems and Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, under the guidance of Dr. Mayank Shrivastava)
- Development of electronics backend and software for building road automation devices at Smider Technology
- Plotting and understanding spectrograms of the Vela Pulsar from raw voltage data obtained at the Ooty Radio Telescope
- Development of a very low bitrate (less than 2Kbps) radio communication system for Bharat Electronics, Government of India. This work is ongoing under the guidance of Dr. Muralishankar R
- Identification of insects based on audio signals using signal processing techniques for the Central Institute of Cotton Research under the guidance of Dr. A. H. Prakash. This work is expected to be completed by the first week of December, 2019
Things I believe I am good at
Programming the automatic headlight glare blocker on OpenCV (a project that I worked on with Mr. Don Engel, Head of Design, Hadron Industries, Alexandria, VA, USA)
As Scott Adams once said, "Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success". I have spent a lot of time trying to acquire new skills throughout my life.
As a student in school, I tried learning some Vedic Mathematics, which are mainly tricks to solve arithmetic problems quickly. I still use some of them to this day. A few years ago,
when my parents gifted me my very first motorcycle(a Royal Enfield Thunderbird with a dual spark plug 350cc engine), I learnt how to fix many of the basic issues like low oil, loose
chain or even basic engine cleaning. But as for my skills that help me directly in the industry and research, the most important ones are-
- MATLAB and Simulink for rapid algorithm development
- Synopsys Sentaurus TCAD for semiconductor device development
- OpenCV for image processing and manipulation
- Ability to quickly build prototypes in many fields
Important events that I participated in and a few competitions I won
The Smider team's victory photo after winning the national level hackathon held by Bosch, Dell and GIZ in Hyderabad. P.S: At this point, we had all been up for over 70 hours straight
When you dedicate all your time to work and build something, it's nice to get some recognition every now and then. Here are some events I participated in and a few awards I have won-
Few Notable Awards and Participations
- First place in both regional and national levels at the GIZ Techathon held by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), Bosch and Dell
- First rank in my school, 32nd rank in state (Karnataka) and 1918th international rank in the Sixth International Olympiad of Mathematics, 2013, held by Mathematics Olympiad Foundation and Silverzone Foundation
- First place in the Engineer's Day MAKEATHON for building a distributed computing network, organized by the Innovation Club at Sir MVIT, Bangalore, India
- First place in 'Soundarya Parliamentary Debate Open', held by Soundaraya Institute of Management and Science and Debate India
- Participated in 'Particles, Gravity and Strings, an interactive session with eminent physicists', conducted by ICTS (TIFR) and ICTP
- Participated in 'Code Wars by HP' conducted by the Hewlett-Packard Company
Hobbies that keep my mind fresh and running
One of my dogs (Teddy) and I fixing my bike's chain
Fixing and riding my bike has quickly risen to be my favourite hobby. I learn a lot about my bike everyday and the direct result of me treating my bike well is a great ride
every day. It's very relaxing and as I live near the outskirts of Bangalore, there are some really scenic spots I can visit very quickly
One of my collections of technical books
I love reading and I read a wide range of books. When I am bored, I choose between fiction and technical books usually. A book I just finished is "The Cobra" by Fredrick Forsyth.
A technical book that I am trying to read now is "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by Griffiths. With my parents being avid readers, I have had access to very interesting and diverse
books all my life. One of my favourite books is the Readers' Digest's "Guide to the Places of the World". My father bought this book and it is so old that when it was published, East and West
Germany were still different countries. Reading different books has given me a decent perspective about many things. This is a hobby I would not trade for all the money in the world
Opening and sometimes destroying circuits in real electronic devices
Real world electronics appliances are so cool! I love opening these devices and seeing how they look inside. It's also fun to try and figure out what certain parts are. Usually, I
open keyboards and headsets because spoilt ones are so readily available, but once in a while, I get to lay my hands on some rare devices like in the picture above. The Samsung
Control Board is particularly interesting because it contains a 220V AC to 5V DC converter which is incredibly useful in amateur electronics projects