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The Romance of Aviation—A Guest Lecture by Dr. A. K. Ghosh


Dr. A. K. Ghosh, a professor at the Department of Aerospace at IIT Kanpur and a highly regarded scientist in his field was invited to give a guest lecture at MIT about his life experiences and the most recent advancements in aeronautics and aviation. He has multiple feathers in his cap, including mentoring a number of start-ups such as Aurora Integrated Systems in Bengaluru and Shastra Automation Laboratories in Kanpur among others.

Dr. Ghosh expressed how he never lies to the young and never tells the truth to the old. The young have the power to bring about change, so withholding information from them will impede progress, while the elderly will worry about change, so keeping the truth from them will prevent this worry. He used the phrase “Noblesse oblige,” which refers to the idea that being noble entails responsibility, and that if you are in a position of privilege, you must make sure that you lend a hand to those without it. 

Dr. A. K. Ghosh takes to the podium. [Image credit: Lakshya]

He claimed that the field of aeronautics is only for those who are romantic; loving what you do is one of the essential components of success in a profession that is characterised by constant disappointment and failure. When everything does come together eventually, the time and effort you put in will be entirely worthwhile.

As he began to discuss the significance of electrical and avionic systems replacing their fuel-based counterparts, he encouraged the institute to work with the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Electrical and Electronics Engineering to add an elective on battery technology. He urged the students to explore these fields and to advance and innovate in them, noting that one of the biggest challenges the Indian aeronautical industry is currently facing is a lack of domestic manufacturing of components, particularly the sensors and materials needed for aerial vehicles.

The audience listens with rapt attention. [Image credit: Kushala]

He then dove into an equally enlightening, lengthy Q&A session, during which he went into more detail about his personal experiences, his time at ARDE, Pune, his thoughts on supersonic travel, its difficulties, its potential, and the future of electric aviation. It was a brilliant talk by a brilliant academic, surely inspired a new era of aviation enthusiasts.

[Featured image credit: Lakshya]

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