Reaching out to the stars and beyond

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Reaching out to the stars and beyond

Twenty eight year old Sivaramasudhan S is currently employed as a scientist cum engineer with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) UR Rao Satellite Centre,  Bangalore.

Just like ISRO is the toast of the nation for successfully demonstrating frugal engineering skills during various satellite and inter planetary missions in the recent past, similarly, Sivaramasudhan, is a proud alumnus of the Semmangudi Higher Secondary School, Sembangudi, Tamil Nadu. This institution is being managed by the Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET), the implementing partner of AIM for Seva.

Sivaramasudhan was a student of the school at Sembangudi from 2005 to 2009 (Class 9 to 12). Recalling his matriculation and high school years, Sivaramasudhan says the institution is known for providing a supportive environment to students by encouraging and motivating them to do their best. “The teachers motivated us constantly and guided us to gain proper knowledge. All of them had good knowledge of the subjects they taught. More importantly, they made the lessons lively and interactive and student friendly,” he recollects.

Sivaramasudhan is currently employed at LEOS (Laboratory for Electro-Optic Systems), URSC, Bangalore. LEOS is actively engaged in the design, development, production and delivery of electro-optic sensors and optics to spacecrafts.

Talking about outer space and voyages, Sivaramasudhan says while NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is very good at sending spacecrafts over long distances, ISRO has mastered payloads!

Sivaramasudhan is grateful for the good foundation that he received in basic sciences and mathematics at the Semmangudi Higher Secondary School, Sembangudi, Tamil Nadu. This helped him to hone his skills as an engineer and then as a space scientist.  Sivaramasudhan did his engineering from Government College of Engineering, Salem, Tamil Nadu, specialising in metallurgical engineering. He went on to complete his masters in metallurgical and materials engineering at IIT Madras from 2014 to 2016.

From 2016 till August 2018, Sivaramasudhan worked at TVS Motor Company’s Hosur plant. “I was part of the research and development team and that experience was very invaluable. I gained lot more knowledge in my area of material science combined with automobiles.” During his stint with the company, Sivaramasudhan was sent to Germany for a short period. TVS has an alliance with BMW in the motorcycle segment.  In August 2018, he joined as a scientist with ISRO in Bangalore and was recently promoted in the organisation.

The entry to ISRO wasn’t a cakewalk. Sivaramasudhan had to give a written exam that was followed by an interview. “Luckily for me during the written test, a lot of questions related to automobile engineering and I was able to answer all of that thanks to my work exposure at the R&D unit at TVS Motor Company’s Hosur plant.” Twenty two candidates made it to the final round with Sivaramasudhan being one of the two who were finally selected.

What Sivaramasudhan values even more is the lifeskills taught to him in the high school environment.” I have gained knowledge to approach new things with a unique way and our school taught me to understand and learn from my mistakes. This has helped me to face and balance the new things in life with confidence.”

He says the school and the teachers stressed more on knowledge gaining than high mark scoring. “I was hooked to space and universe after I studied about Kepler’s laws (Kepler’s laws of planet motion are three scientific laws that describe the motion of the planets around the sun) in Class 11. My initial ambition was to become a doctor but I only managed to secure the dental option after Class 12. It is then I shifted gears and went on to pursue a degree in metallurgical engineering,” says Sivaramasudhan.

Sivaramasudhan is still in touch with his alma mater. “I have gained a lot by studying in the Semmangudi Higher Secondary School, Sembangudi, Tamil Nadu. I miss the many interactive discussions that I had with my teachers. I am still in touch with many of my school teachers and look up to them for advice and wishes,” he says.

In particular, Sivaramasudhan fondly remembers his mathematics teacher, Mr. Palanivel who opened his mind beyond the world of numbers. “ He taught me how to think analytically and sharpened my problem solving skills.”  He also recollects the contribution of his chemistry teacher, Mr Raman who motivated him to develop a questioning mind.

Sivaramasudhan hails from Kothavasal village, Tiruvarur district), Tamil Nadu. His father retired after working in a cooperative society around five years back. His mother is a homemaker while his younger brother who completed a diploma in mechanical engineering is working in Saudi Arabia now.

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