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How out-of-school experiences shaped a budding nuclear engineer+ #54

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Quote of the Week

“Japanese gardeners, over many centuries, have learned to do things to trees, to clip their roots or trim their branches, to limit their supply of water, air, or sun, so that they live, and for a long time, but only in tiny, shrunken, twisted shapes. Such trees may please us, or they may not. But what could they tell us about the nature of trees? If a tree can be deformed and shrunk, is this, then, its nature? The nature of these trees, given enough of the sun, air, water, soil, and food they need, is to grow like trees, tall and straight. People can be more easily deformed, and worse deformed, even than trees, and more than trees, they feel it, it hurts.” John Holt, Renowned Educator, in his book, Instead of Education

Hi, this is the GenWise team– we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and working together. We are also a founder-member of the Gifted India Network– if you are interested in issues related to gifted education and talent development, an easy way to keep updated about talks, programs and resources is to join the Gifted India Network telegram channel (

In this week’s main post ‘How out-of-school experiences shaped a budding nuclear engineer’ a parent shares key out-of-school experiences of her son in middle and high school that led him to the Engineering Physics program at IIT Bombay.

Join this conversation on learning, by commenting on our posts or writing to us.


How out-of-school experiences shaped a budding nuclear engineer

Upcoming Events

How out-of-school experiences shaped a budding nuclear engineer

Aneesh Kamat is currently studying Engineering Physics at IIT Bombay and is in his second year. Aneesh has always been a passionate student in school. His mother, Pallavi shares about Aneesh’s journey from being a school student, to studying at IIT Bombay, over the last 6 years, in this post. She talks about how his nuclear scientist grandfather has been an important role model and how the recognition from ASSET Talent Search and the 3 summer programs he attended between grades 7 and 9 influenced his approach to learning and his career choice. Aneesh attended three 21 day residential summer programs for gifted students between 2015 and 2017- two were programs by Duke TIP in India and the USA (Physics of Propulsion; Nuclear Physics) and one was the ASSET Summer Programme (Global Politics and Foreign Policy Analysis). 

About Aneesh’s choice of studying Engineering Physics at IIT Bombay

He was always interested in natural sciences and was keen to study as much of it as possible. During his 12th standard, it became apparent that Physics and Maths topped the list of interests though he was interested in pursuing everything. The Engineering Physics program at IIT Bombay provided an engaging mix of both his favourite subjects while also blending a more theoretical research-oriented approach with the standardized practical rigour of engineering. As his sole focus was to keep learning as much as possible and he was adamant in pursuing higher education, he felt that a path that provided ample opportunity for higher studies and a theoretical pursuit would be ideal. 

About Aneesh’s journey as a student from school to college

There are a few events that helped shape his thoughts and help him understand what he enjoys best and how his coming years might pan out. His grandfather, an eminent nuclear engineer himself, was a primary source of inspiration for him. His experiences at the summer programs he qualified for through ASSET Talent Search were key in providing a valuable exposure to the intricacies of a scientific pursuit, and encouraged him to think outside the box. Throughout his three years at the summer programs he explored (in order)-

Physics of Propulsion (Duke TIP, Shiv Nadar University)

This course laid the foundation for his interest in research. The professors were engaging and the projects they carried out (both research and hands-on) ignited his passion for learning and creating. His analysis of Zeppelins and their historical use and demise, followed by him building a mini-model of one remains one of his favourite take-aways from the experience. His cumulative research project on RAMJET vs SCRAMJET engines was the first of his many forays into the analysis of various engineering and scientific aspects. 

Global Politics and Foreign Policy Analysis (ASSET Summer Programme, REVA University)

While his course choice here came out of the left field and at first glance appeared irrelevant to his more scientific tendencies, his keen grasp of the intricacies of politics and the desire to understand the nuances of interactions between people at all scales drove this journey. Throughout this course, he was exposed to simulations that taught him the value of approaching the same situation from multiple perspectives. His grasp of the many facets of decision-making and further research into key historic events such as the Rwandan crisis provided a novel exposure on worldly events to him and his interest in global politics continues to this day.

Nuclear Physics (Duke TIP, Duke University Campus, Raleigh, North Carolina)

In his final year at the program he chose the course closest to where his future interests lie and where his foremost source of inspiration (his grandfather) works. The cherry on the cake, this course provided a many-pronged approach on the subject. Analysing the advent of the Nuclear Age from a historical as well as scientific perspective. A field trip to a nuclear power reactor provided an opportunity to understand the scale of engineering from a privileged vantage. Engaging simulations and in-depth forays into the intricacies of nuclear engineering and the amazing scope it has for the future provided a launching pad for his pursuit of alternative energy sources and his dream of contributing to the growth of nuclear fusion as a clean and safe alternative. Arguably the strongest influence on his career choice, his experience at this course moulded his path for the years to come and was the cornerstone of his pursuit into engineering physics.

Advice for middle and high-school children

It’s not the choice that the child makes that determines their success. It’s the conviction and effort that they put into that choice that determines it. Let them explore a variety of domains as diverse perspectives enrich their experiences.

Upcoming Events

Perspectives in Math and Art is part of the Kaapi with Kuriosity series from the ICTS outreach team. and is scheduled on Sun, Apr 24, from 4 to 530 PM IST. Supurna Sinha, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Raman Research Institute will be speaking on the topic. Her work in the area of Quantum Brownian motion has led to predictions testable in ultra cold atom labs. In the session blurb, she says-

The European renaissance saw the merging of mathematics and art in the context of representation of a three dimensional perspective on a canvas. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci, D¨urer, Botticelli, Raphael and others and mathematicians like Pascal, Poncelet, Desargues, and others contributed to this development. The mathematics that emerged from such a convergence is Projective Geometry. In fact, there were precursors to some of the developments in Projective Geometry which I will discuss. I will introduce the basic notions that appear in this geometry. This geometry is in fact more fundamental compared to other geometries like Euclidean Geometry and Riemannian Geometry which are more widely known. The mathematical notions will be concretised in the context of art. To summarise, this talk will shed light on the merging of these two disparate streams – math and art, which happened during the European renaissance.

You can register for the session here.

Summer Programs from GenWise (Residential)- May 8- May 29 (Paid)

If your child is currently in grade 7, 8 or 9, check out the Genesis Summer Program from May 8-29, 2022, at Manipal University, Manipal. While most students will attend the entire 3-week program, there also exist 1 or 2 week options. View the program brochure here. Students from 50+schools and over 20 cities have already registered for our summer camps at Manipal this May.

The academic enrichment component of the program features 3 courses- one in each week.

May 8-15: Reason like Sherlock Holmes– Become familiar with the reasoning process employed not just by detectives, but also by doctors, lawyers, historians, archaeologists, and virtually every domain where one is trying to piece together the full picture, from available clues. Unpack short stories from Sherlock Holmes (and potentially others, based on student interest) to appreciate the process of reasoning better.

May 15-22: Molecular Gastronomy- Intro to Culinary Science– This course at the intersection of Chemistry and Cooking is a great way to experience the power of science in our daily life experiences. The course emphasizes the role of sciences in cooking and how the world over, it has started to make a difference if the chefs understand the science that goes into it. Sessions at the world-class kitchen of the Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration will involve working with materials like liquid nitrogen, dry ice and agar gels to create some exceptional dishes through the application of science.

May 22-29: Experiment Design for Critical Thinkers– Appreciate the importance of Experiment Design in exploring answers to relevant questions, whatever the domain (Economics, Engineering, Psychology, Marketing, Materials Science, Medicine, etc.). Often not taught formally at school (or even at College level), learn the vital skills necessary for understanding the role of variables, apples-to-apples comparisons, the role of bias, and how to attempt to overcome bias.

The program is much more than the academic enrichment component represented by the courses listed above and the goal of the program is to help with the development of the whole child- read more about the program experience in this post.

Please note that the Genesis Summer Program runs concurrently with the GenWise Summer Program (open to Ei ASSET Talent Search (ATS) Gold/ Silver/ Bronze scholars).

Students of both programs will be participating in common activities together, outside of the academic hours. 

Feel free to reach out to our leadership team at the numbers below.

Rajesh  @98409 70514; Vishnu @93422 47734; Shrikant @98600 33502; Sowmya @75985 66949

3. Nurturing Giftedness: The Goldmine– International Seminar on Apr 21 and 22

Women’s Christian College, Chennai is organising a two day International Seminar on ‘Nurturing Giftedness: The Goldmine’ on 21st and 22nd April 2022. The registration fee is INR 500 for delegates from India and the last date for registration is April 18, 2022.

Kaveri Gifted Education and Research Center (KGERC) is the Knowledge and Media partner for the event. This seminar will be helpful for professionals, parents and undergraduates.

For more details, kindly refer to the brochure here.

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