The Robo Physicists Society of Kirori Mal College won two extremely prestigious accolades in May-June this year. From being the only international team whose paper on ‘Enabling Long Duration Missions Through Holistic Habitat Design’ got selected for a presentation at NASA, to securing13th position in the Mars Society’s Rover Challenge, the society has indeed made Delhi University and India proud.
While in a conversation with the team, they revealed some experiences of their journey. Here are some excerpts from the interview-
Question – From being regular undergraduate students of Delhi University to competing against people pursuing their PhDs and Masters internationally, what has your journey comprised of?
Team RoboPhysicists – The journey has been a wonderful learning experience till now. We met people who were more learned than us but that just encouraged us to do even better. We made great friends with the participants and even with the judges from NASA and learned a lot from them. As for the competition, we strived to do our best everywhere. More importantly, we were fuelled by our wish to make India stand at par with other international teams. As a result, we stood out at both the competitions and did better than quite a few other international colleges, competing with students who were more learned and more experienced than us.
Question – The challenges you faced in both the competitions were highly technical and the competition had engineers from international institutions. How did you go about these challenges?
Team RoboPhysicists – There’s no doubt about the fact that the challenges were highly technical. But here at DU, we pursue Physics and all that we did was to apply the concepts we learned to the real world. We didn’t need an “engineering” tag to take on to the challenges there. Our zeal and passion guided us and we strove more each day. The result was that our rover this
time was much more advanced than the last year.
Question – How did your society start out on international ventures like NASA and the Rover Challenge?
Team RoboPhysicists – Well the person who deserves the credit for this is our Faculty Advisor, Dr. Sumitra Mohanty. She is an Associate Professor in Physics at Kirori Mal College. She has been a voracious speaker disseminating her ideas and knowledge in various seminars and conferences around the globe. Under her dynamic advisor ship, the college has participated twice each in NASA’S Great Moonbuggy Challenge and NASA’s Lunabotics Mining Competition and in NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems
Concepts and Academic Linkage and in Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge.
Question – You must have interacted with fellow students, seniors and professors from all over the world. What were the common and different factors in their knowledge and education in comparison with us?
Team RoboPhysicists– There isn’t much difference. But one very noticeable difference was that in US, students aren’t bound by limits of the stream they are pursuing. It’s no surprise to find a mechanical guy taking up electronics in future, whereas that’s not the case in India’s education system. It’s good in a way that the students are open to options. Also their courses are designed in a way that they can understand where they can contribute the best. Education wise too, students there are more technologically “handy”.
Question – How was that moment when KMC’s RoboPhysicists Society became the only international team whose paper got selected for the presentation at NASA?
Team RoboPhysicists -The moment was unexplainable. It took us through all emotions in just a few moments. We did our best and submitted the paper. We were glad to realize that our work stood out and got selected. Even at the forum we received great appreciation; not just because we were the only international team but also because we were the only team without any aerospace
Question – How was the reception back in the college on your return after the tremendous victory?
Team RoboPhysicists– It was great. We got a lot of appreciation and encouragement at our college and even at the University. All our teachers were proud of us. We also got special appreciation from the Former Chief Minister, Smt. Sheila Dixit.
Question – Lastly, any message you would like to share with our readers, especially to those pursuing physics?
Team RoboPhysicists– Pursuing Physics is no child’s play. Take pride in what you are doing and go all out to explore and apply your classroom knowledge. We at KMC RoboPhysicists have tried to do our best and have proved ourselves time and again, competing not just with the best engineering institutes of India but also internationally. And we did it because we wished and
believed that we could do it.