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Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Speech at The Orchid School 2012

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Speech at The Orchid School's Science Expo

9 Feb 2012

Creative minds lead to evolution of great sciences”

Inventions and discoveries have emanated from creative minds that have been constantly working and imaging the outcome in the mind.  With imaging and constant effort, all the forces of the universe work for that inspired mind, thereby leading to inventions or discoveries.

I am delighted to address and interact with the Students from the Orchid school and other schools present here. I am very happy to know that the Orchid School is celebrating the Science Week in order to expose children to scientific concepts and applications. Friends, when I would like to share a few thoughts on Creative minds lead to evolution of great sciences”.

Dr. kalam

First let us see few unique scientists, who are always remembered and celebrated by humanity for their unique contribution to society.

Unique You

Dear friends, Look up, what do you see, the light, the electric bulbs.  Immediately, our thoughts go to the inventorThomas Alva Edison, for his unique contribution towards the invention of electric bulb and his electrical lighting system.

When you hear the sound of aero-plane going over your house, whom do you think of?  Wright Brothers proved that man could fly, of-course at heavy risk and cost.

Whom does the telephone remind you of? Of course, Alexander Graham Bell.

When everybody considered a sea travel as an experience or a voyage, aunique person questioned during his sea travel from United Kingdom to India.  He was pondering on why the horizon where the sky and sea meet looks blue? His research resulted in the phenomena of scattering of light.  Of course,   Sir CV Raman was awarded Nobel Prize.

Do you know the scientist who is famous for Chandra Limit which describes the maximum mass (~1.44 solar masses) of a white dwarf star, or equivalently, the minimum mass for which a star will ultimately collapse into a neutron star to black hole following a supernova. Two of his students got the Nobel Prize before him. It is of-course the famous Nobel Laureate Chandrasekhar Subrmaniam .

Friends, there was a great scientific lady who is known for discovering Radium. She won not one, but two Nobel Prizes, one for physics and another for chemistry. Who is she? She is Madam Curie. Madam Curie discovered radium and she was doing research on the effect of radiation on human system. The same radiation which she discovered, affected her and she sacrificed her life for removing the pain of human life.

Do you know the cosmic rays scientist transform into institution builder of institutions like Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad – Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Space Research Organisation, of course he is the visionary Prof Vikram Sarabhai.

When I described to you young friends, these historical events, you all jumped. The scientist, technologist, warriors and great human being, who created the event, are unique personalities. Young friends, can you join such unique performers of scientific history?  Yes, you can.  Definitely, you can. Let us study together, how it can be made possible?

Friends, I have, so far, met 13 million youth in a decade’s time. I learnt, “every youth wants to be unique, that is, YOU!  But the world all around you, is doing its best, day and night, to make you just “everybody else”.  At home, dear young friends, you are asked by your parents to be like neighbours’ children for scoring good marks. When you go to school, your teacher says “why not you become like the first five rankers in the class”. Wherever you go, they are saying “you have to be somebody else or everybody else”.

The challenge, my young friends, is that you have to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can ever imagine to fight; and never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place, that is, a UNIQUE YOU!  Friends what will be your tools to fight this battle, what are they: have a great aim in life, continuously acquire the knowledge, work hard and persevere to realize the great achievement.

Since, Orchid School is celebrating the science week, let me discuss on what Science can give the society and each one of us.

What Science can give you

Dear friends since I am with this  students who are shortly  going to decide on what stream they should carve out for their career, I would like to share with you one question,  what is the uniqueness of being a scientist?

Friends, science gives you better eyes because science can remove the mental blinkers and it gives your brain a challenge to solve many scientific problems that are yet to be solved.    When people in general  talk in dimensions, just less than one millimeter or few hundred thousand kilometers requirement in flight, the  scientists will easily move from the behaviour of proton (10-15M ) to the size of visible universe approximately 1028M   43 orders of magnitude.  Most of our friends, who are not in the field of science, will slice the time perhaps maximum upto one hundredth  of a second.  You scientists will slice the time into femtoseconds (10-15 Sec) which may decide a fast photo chemical reaction.  When you think way back in time, it will be big bang, some 15,000 million years ago and the beginning of the life on earth about 3800 million years ago.  Again you will be ahead of 17 to 18 orders  of magnitude.  Science indeed will connect you into the brains of many smart people who were there before you.  Hence,  science makes you feel good to stand on the shoulders of the giants like Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkings  , Sir CV Raman, Chandrasekhar Subramanyam, and Srinivasa Ramanujam.

Science always provides challenging problems.  Look at the southern sky, bright clouds lit by light. That is our galaxy, we belong to the milky way.  Millions and millions of stars are there.    We belong to a small star, what is that star - Sun.  The Solar system has eight planets. Our planet earth has six billion people, and millions and millions of species.  Can you imagine what science has revealed to all of us?   Our galaxy and our sun and its characteristics have been identified.  Exact location with respect of sun and galaxy has been discovered. Again you ask yourself what science has done.  What scientific discoveries have led to? We know that earth rotates in its own axis in 24 hours.  We get day and night.  How do you get the full moon night.  Earth has its own satellite, Moon, which orbits around the planet earth in 29 days.  And how the moon shines? Anytime have you thought, the beautiful light how do we get?   How do we get the new  moon ?  You all know it has been discovered.  It is the  dynamic movement  of earth,  sun and the moon in the space, which decides, the moon and the  dark night.

Friends the earth system takes 365 days for orbiting around the sun once.  The sun itself orbits around our galaxy- the Milky Way.  It is estimated that the sun takes 250 million years to orbit around the galaxy. All the astronomical discoveries have come out of science.

You take our human body.  What is the human body?  Science has revealed that the human body is made up of millions and millions of atoms. An average adult weighing 70 kilograms would have approximately 7*1027atoms, that is, 7 followed by 27 zeros. For example, I am made up of 5.8x 1027 atoms.  This is divided into 4.7*1027 would be hydrogen atoms, another 1.8*1027 would be oxygen, and there are 7.0*1026 carbon atoms.  The difference between one human being and another is determined by the sequencing of the atoms.

The recent human genome programme reveals that human genome contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, which centres in the nucleus of every cell in the body. Each chromosome consists of a DNA double helix, that is wrapped around spool like proteins called histones.  It is estimated that the human body has three hundred thousand to 2 million proteins. The characterization of each protein is the most challenging task, which is carried out by the Human Proteome Project. The unraveling of the genomic mystery will ultimately allow the bio-medical community to create a new evolutionary future for the human race.

        Let me now discuss about creative classroom which is the foundation for scientific learning.

Creative class room

I have always liked to sit in a class. Always when I visit schools and colleges in India and abroad, I would like to see, how teacher teaches and students interact. Recently, I was in Andhra Pradesh, in a one teacher school class room upto Vth class. I was with the students in the evening at 7 pm, in the out door class with full moon shining. Later I realize that the outdoor class had a purpose as visualized by the teacher. The teacher was teaching, how children can be always happy? Dear children you see the full moon, the beautiful scene in the sky which brings smiles and cheers. Remember, you smile the family also smiles. How many of you keep your parents happy. The whole class lifted their hands, they said, they will do it. I also lifted my hands with the Vth class students. Then the surprise came. The teacher said, moon is the natural satellite of planet earth.

She asked, dear children, can anyone of you tell me “what is the name of the artificial satellite – our ISRO has launched around the earth?” Only one boy responded that ISRO launched Rohini satellite. Then teacher convert the class with moon as a laboratory. She had a cloth black board. She already drawn first day of the moon, after new moon, how it looks. Second day – third day - ---- today is the fifteenth day, that is why you are seeing the full moon radiating beautiful light. She asked, moon gets light from where? There was no reply at all. The teacher herself answered that the moon gets the light from the sun. One teacher class I enjoyed, particularly I was astonished with the foresight of the teacher in organizing the class on full moon day and she converting the moon as the laboratory for teaching.

Another experience, during my visit to UAE, I inaugurated an Indian school named JSS International School, Dubai.  When the preparation was going on for the inaugural function, I was moving from place to place in the school, particularly I visited class rooms where number of students from Class V and Class VI were being taught by a teacher.  As soon as the teacher saw me, she asked me to take the class.

I went to the black board and I started interacting with the students instead of loading them with the lessons. I asked the children, our sun (star) has how many planets? Many hands went up. One girl said, there are nine planets and some students said, there are eight planets. I said, the right answer is eight planets, since the ninth planet Pluto has been removed from the list of planets, because it does not meet the criteria of a planet, in size, weight and orbital motion. I asked one student, tell me which is our planet. There was a chorus answer “Earth”. Who will talk about the earth? One VIth class student got up and said, our earth rotates on its own axis. Many students said, it takes 24 hours for one orbit that’s how we get day and night. I was very pleased with the knowledge of the young on the solar system.

Then I asked the class, what does the earth do, there was pin drop silence. Again a Vth class student said, earth orbits around the sun. How much time it takes to complete the one orbit? Many hands went up, they said 365 days. Our Sun belongs to which Galaxy? Only one boy responded, Milky Way. How much time our Sun takes for one orbit of our Galaxy? No response. Of course, it is difficult. I gave the answer 200 million years. Children had a great surprise.

I said; our galaxy milky-way has millions of stars, some of them with their planets. So the sun goes in a huge elliptical orbit which takes more than 200 million years. I was impressed with the class and greeted them and left. I am giving you these examples to illustrate, how the students can be encouraged to be creative which is required to build their self-confidence. I am sure, the educators assembled here may be adopting several methods to make the class dynamic and creative.

What is the unique nature of thinking minds of discoverers and inventors of the world. Inventions and discoveries have emanated from creative minds that have been constantly working and imaging the outcome in the mind.  With imaging and constant effort, all the forces of the universe work for that inspired mind, thereby leading to inventions or discoveries. Science teachers should have the capacities to nurture the creative minds and imagining minds.

Conclusion: Building Confidence

Dear friends, during the last few years, I have seen, how India Vision 2020 has inspired the people particularly the youth of the nation, which has resulted in many taking up many missions directed towards Vision 2020.  Now I recall a situation in 1990 beginning when I was interacting with the youth of Ahmedabad, one girl asked me a question “When can I sing a song of India?” At that time, her brother who was United States was always talking about the best in the United States. This girl sitting in India was fed up about his brother’s stories and in her quest to find an answer she asked me “When can I sing a song of India?”  How do I answer, I have explained about the Developed India Vision 2020 and told her that have a confidence and certainly you can sing a song of India by 2020. The same spirit echoed everywhere during that time.  But for the last few years, while interacting with the youth, I had seen a marked change in the thinking of the youth. They have always been asking me “What can I give to the nation?” That means youth are ready to contribute for the national development? Recently during the last one year, I see a further a change, they tell me “I can do it”, “We can do it” and the “Nation will do it”.  With the 600 million youth of the nation whom you represent, actively participating in the development process, I am sure that India will be transformed into a developed nation before the year 2020.

My greetings and best wishes to all the students assembled here for success in their educational mission. 

May God bless you. 

Oath for the Youth

  1. I will have a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. I realize that small aim is a crime.
  2. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
  3. I will be a good member of my family, a good member of the society, a good member of the nation and a good member of the nation and a good member of the world.
  4. I will always try to save or better someone's life, without any discrimination of caste, creed, language religion or state. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is “What can I give?” 
  5. As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all my tasks and enjoy the success of others.
  6. I am as young as my faith and as old as my doubt. Hence, I will light up then, the lamp of faith in my heart.

7  My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

Click here for images of the event

Click on Links below For Videos

Dr Kalam's Visit to TOS.

Dr. Kalam Addressing Students at TOS PART-I

Dr. Kalam Addressing Students at TOS PART-II

Dr Kalam Response to students Question at TOS

Dr Kalam Oath to Students of TOS