To everyone who participated in the “Meet the Mentor” programme of V-THINC organised as part of the AICTE-SPICES scheme should have felt as if he/she was joyously in the middle of a social gathering of internationally acclaimed academic glitterati held in the lawns of Vidya to say happy birthday to Prof Biswa Nath Datta on his 80th birthday. The only minor discrepancy was that it was a virtual gathering! The gathering was attended by more than 40 renowned professors, engineers, mathematicians, and other luminaries from all over the world: From Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, Russia and USA. There were also a large contingent of great academicians from the various IITs and NITs in India. The event was spread over two days, 1 and 2 July 2021, with Prof Datta’s birthday falling on 1st July.
Prof Datta and Vidya
Prof Biswa Nath Datta, Distinguished Research Professor, Northern Illinois University, USA. has been a great well-wisher of Vidya ever since he came into contact with Vidya, through the efforts of Dr Sudha Balagopalan, Dean-Academics, in connection the organisation of EPSCICON 2010, the first ever international conference organised in Vidya. The help extended by Prof Datta played a key role in the great success of EPSCICON 2010. He was also physically present in Vdya’s campus on all the days of the Conference interacting with faculty members and students and motivating young teachers to pursue a career in research. Prof Datta also attended the fourth edition of the EPSCICON series of international conferences held during 6 – 10 January 2018. A special feature of the inaugural ceremony of that Conference was the celebration of the award of the prestigious PC Ray Chair to Prof Biswa Nath Datta by Indian National Science Academy (INSA). He was awarded the PC Ray Chair based on a nomination from Dr Sudha Balagopalan.
|For a detailed biographical sketch of Prof Datta, click HERE|
A sterling accomplishment by Vidya’s freshers and their Group Tutors
The programme was organised by V-THINC (Vidya’s Talking, Hearing & Integrating kNowledge Club), a grouping of first year B Tech students and their Group Tutors mentored by Dr Sudha Balagopalan, Dean-Academics, with financial support from AICTE under the the SPICES (Scheme for Promoting Interests, Creativity and Ethics among Students) scheme. The event was appropriately named as “Meet the Mentor” programme. In addition to being a celebration of the 80th birthday of a great benefactor of Viya, the programme was also indirectly intended to introduce the freshers of Vidya to some of the great academicians Vidya has been associated with and thereby motivate them to follow the footsteps of these great men and also to introduce them to the world of research and development and equip them to meet the challenges.
The students and their Group Tutors did a splendid job of organising the event flawlessly and with perfection! The students were the compeers of the programme; different students introduced each of the speakers individually through video messages; the students presented a mesmerizing Ranga Pooja. One should have seen them in action to understand the energy and the enthusiasm they displayed in organising the “Meet the Mentor” programme.
As already indicated, the programme was spread over two days beginning on 1 July 2021 the 80th birthday of Prof Datta. The activities on the first day began at 7.00 pm IST (8.30 am, Illinois local time) with a brief inaugural ceremony presided over by Dr Santhosh Prasannan, Chairman – VICT. The highlights of the inaugural ceremony were an imaginatively choreographed Ranga Pooja performed by B Tech freshers, a welcome address by Dr Sudha Balagopalan, Dean – Academics, a special address by Dr Saji C B, Principal, the release of a commemorative booklet titled “Asiti Pranam” edited by Dr V N Krishnachandran, Vice-Principal and Head of MCA Dept, felicitations by Mr Sureshlal, Executive Director – VICT,
|Read a separate special report on Ranga Pooja HERE.|
Talks by the distinguished participants on the first day
On the first day, after the inaugural ceremony, as many as 22 distinguished academicians from all over the world blessed the event with their short speeches about Prof Datta. Many of them extended advises to the student community which made the students really experience “meeting their mentors”. Ms Rakhi Dutta and Mr Raj Dutta, children of Prof.Biswa Nath Datta, also participated and offered birthday wishes to their father.
Talk by Prof Thomas Kailath
One highlight of these talks was a longer speech by Prof Thomas Kailath chronicling the various hardships Prof Datta had to endure in his journey from a remote marginalised village in West Bengal to his current status as a Distinguished Research Professor in Northern Illinois University in the United States. Padmabhushan Prof Thomas Kailath is currently Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Stanford University. Professor Kailath has authored several books, including the well-known book Linear Systems, which ranks as one of the most referenced books in the field of linear systems. Prof Kailath is listed as a highly cited researcher and is generally recognized as one of the preeminent figures of twentieth-century electrical engineering.
The session ended with a reply speech by Prof Datta, thanking all the participants and all members of the organising team.
The programme continues on the second day
The second day’s programme started at 9.00 am IST (10.30 pm on 1 July 2021, Illinois local time). There were a repeat performance of Ranga Pooja and a special address by Dr Saji C B, Principal. On the second day also there were around 22 great academicians to offer birthday wishes to Prof Datta. Most of them were from the various IITs and NITS in India.
The session ended with an acknowledgement speech by Prof. Dutta through which he expressed his appreciation of the students and staff of Vidya, his thankfulness to Dr Sudha Balagopalan for organizing this summit, and all the attendees for their concern and blessings.
Around 450 participants of students, alumni, research scholars and academicians attended the event.