Mumbai: The Purdue University International ideas festival ‘Giant Leaps’, inspired by the accomplishments and contributions of Purdue Alumni, past and present, was held today in Mumbai. Its theme not only reminds all of alumnus Neil Armstrong’s historic statement on the moon, but it also serves as the centerpiece of a yearlong event focusing on the most critical problems and opportunities facing our world and how Purdue and its Alumni are addressing them.
Home to approximately 2,000 Indian students and 120 faculty of Indian origin, Purdue is at the epicenter of world-changing research and instruction. Through its ever-expanding alumni network with more than 32,000 alumni living internationally, including 2,555 in India, and its increasing collaborations with corporate and institutional partners, Purdue University and its impact on the world stage continues to grow.
Dr. Suresh Garimella, Purdue Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and U.S. National Science Board member under the current Trump administration was the master of ceremonies for the half-day long series of interactive sessions.
Colonel Jerry Ross, alumnus of Purdue University, who has been to space seven times spoke on, “My journey as a NASA astronaut: What if we found evidence of previous life on Mars?” Ross said ‘there are many challenges to be overcome before we send humans to Mars. Current technologies would require astronauts to travel for 6-9 months to reach Mars and another 6-9 months to return, after having spent an additional year there awaiting proper planetary alignment.”
Other speakers at the event were:
1. Mr. Ambarish Kenghe, Purdue Alumnus and Director of Product Management for Google Pay
2. Mr. Ravi Venkatesan, Founder, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship, UNICEF Special Representative for Young People and Innovation, and Ex-chairman of Microsoft
3. Dr. Vijay Chandru, Co-founder and Director, Strand Life Sciences.