Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Indian Science & Tech: The Price of Red Tape

India-born scientist, Prof. AJ Paulraj has won this years' prestigious Marconi Award. Multiple-Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) wireless technology pioneered by Paulraj now enables us to use high-speed internet connections through WiFi and 4G.

While going through the award citation and the press coverage that followed, what struck me was that unlike most NRI's scientists, Prof. Paul was originally with the Indian Navy. Its the navy that sent him for higher studies to IIT-Delhi, and then on to a PhD at Stanford.

Again, unlike most NRI's, he returned to India to found three major labs -- CAIR (Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics), CDAC (Center for Development of Advanced Computing) and CRL (Central Research Labs of Bharat Electronics).

And then something happened that drove Prof. Paul out of India. According to a Times of India article:
"...by 1991, according to the now familiar narrative, bureaucratic battles began to take their toll, and with the consent of the Indian Navy, he returned to the US and Stanford University. ''His departure for Stanford University was a major loss for our country and the circumstances that led to his move may explain why we have so few Nobel Laureates from India,'' Admiral Tahiliani said."
What happened?? What is the "familiar narrative"? Where were the bureaucratic battles waged?


* Marconi Society - announcement - http://www.marconisociety.org/press/2014paulrajannouncement.html

* Chidanand Rajghatta (ToI, 23Jan14): NRI Scientist AJ Paulraj wins Tech 'Nobel' - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-23/us-canada-news/46513090_1_indian-navy-mimo-iit-delhi

* Introduction to MIMO technology - http://www.ieee.li/pdf/viewgraphs/wireless_mimo.pdf

* Thomas Kailath - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kailath

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