Dr. Katepalli Sreenivasan grew up in a small village near Bangalore where there were about 50 houses. His primary schooling was in a one-room school with two teachers.
He says he learnt a lot of those things at home by osmosis. He credits much of his education to his mother, uncles and especially his paternal grandfather.
How does it feel to be appointed to the Eugene Kleiner Chair for innovation in mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU)?
I am glad it came to pass, especially when I learnt that the Kleiner family was quite pleased with the choice.
What are your immediate goals?
Eugene Kleiner was an entrepreneur of a high order and an alumnus of NYU-Poly. Though there are not specific expectations of me, I want to strengthen the environment of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship at NYU-Poly and NYU at large.
What are the challenges you will face?
A lot of the things just mentioned depend on the right environment. how to create such an environment depends on the history of the place, the time and the resources that one can generate. The challenge is to be able to build the right ingredients.
What is your recent scientific research related to?
Three of my most recent papers appeared in the proceedings of the US national academy of sciences.
One of them deals with phase change in convection, relevant to cloud formation, which is important for the weather and the climate.
The second one deals with the convective motion in the outer 30% of the sun. The most recent one was about the presence of an exoplanet far outside our solar system.
Two other problems i am interested in now are: (1) quantum turbulence in liquid helium below about 2.17 degree kelvin; (2) turbulent mixing.
James Bond seems to have known something when he asked for martinis which were shaken but not stirred.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
There are two things I have believed in from very early age, both due to the influence of my grandparents and parents, especially my mother (since my father passed away when i was still young).
First, you should give some part of your effort for the benefit of the mankind as a whole.
Second, you should combine your concern for excellence with the need to create opportunities for those who don’t inherit them.
I got so much in my life that I feel obligated to work for these two goals.
#READ: Interviews that inspire
#WATCH: Dr Sreenivasan speaking about The State of Turbulent Mixing and the Future Directions at Princeton University