Tuesday 10 December 2013

Dr Baldev Raj: Safety at Fast Breeder Reactor, Kalpakkam

Author at Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam with other scientists

Tsunami, Safety and the Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam

Interview with Dr Baldev Raj, director, IGCAR, Kalpakkam by Shivanand Kanavi, June 13, 2011

Firstly, when is the PFBR going to be commissioned?

We are planning to commission in June 2012 and we are very confident because the uncertainties have been removed. This being the first FBR in the world in the last 30 years, the international experience was also limited. So we had to do a lot of mock-up trials especially at the site.

For example, doing a 13-metre stainless steel weld with very small tolerance on eccentricity; lowering a roof dome of 230 tonnes with a circumference tolerance of 3 mm in 13 metres and so on.

It is a result of confluence of the best minds of industry and the Department of Atomic Energy. We can very confidently say that the technology has been mastered and is deliverable on site. R&D has been converted into technology. We have built a very competent young team.

By commissioning, you mean the actual loading of the fuel and achieving criticality?

Yes. After that it will take 6-9 months to be connected to the grid. We want to go step by step because it is a very large core with a large amount of plutonium and sodium. We are doing it for the first time.

How many tonnes?

In the actual vessel there will be 11 tonnes of sodium and two tonnes of plutonium. We can decide to go low power and then high power and so on.

How many tonnes of uranium will be there?

About eight.

This will be carbide or oxide fuel?

This will be oxide. Since it is a large investment we made a sub-assembly for validation with all the components coming from India and that sub-assembly of our design gave us 110,000 MW day per tonne.

We are yet to do the post-radiation examination but we have studied the power output and there was no breach of the cladding. No problem in handling. It was completed two months back.

After the 2004 tsunami there must have been some design changes and new protective measures put in for any such eventuality. Can you explain them?

We had a national committee of best experts. It examined the measures already taken. This exercise was done for the whole Kalpakkam campus and not just the fast breeder. It covered the residential campus, the MAPP reactors and IGCAR. We found that this place was well designed for the tsunami of the kind we had.

If you recall, we were back in operation within two weeks. However, the foundation of the fast breeder which was being built at that time had a deposit of the material that came with the tsunami.

So we studied what degradation the concrete had gone through due to the deposit, whether sodium or chlorine has gone in; what has happened to the long-term durability of the foundation etc.

We did modelling as well as actual testing. The foundation was okay but after discussion with the regulatory body and departmental discussions, we decided to put a barrier layer and a fresh foundation was laid on that and we carried on.

So that also elevated it further?

Yes that was another by-product, it got elevated by another two metres.

What about levees and barriers?

They were already there but we redesigned it. More important was the psyche of the people in the township because there were 30 deaths. Many people wanted to leave the organisation itself due to family pressure.

We have used boulders, mangroves and a unique barrier which will take a tsunami even greater than the last one. We also put in an alarm system based on seismic events around the world.

Anyway, our reactor people constantly observe all geological events so we have a warning system based on that irrespective of what the country decides to do. This warning is given to the villages and all our people.

We use hooters along the coast. We have also educated the people on disaster management. The biggest challenge for me was to keep the people together and give them confidence. Whatever happened was a natural calamity but we can be prepared for it in the future.

How would you describe the safety features built into the fast breeders?

The fast breeder satisfies all the current safety norms for nuclear reactors. There is a steady state of the nuclear reactor system. There can be transient states. These transient states should not damage the core leading to an accident.

So there are various mechanisms set up to see that the core is not damaged during any such event.

The reactor may be crammed so that power is reduced, controlling the temperature and the neutronics. In addition, in our system there is sodium, which catches fire if it comes into contact with air.

So one should prevent sodium leaks and have large number of sensors to check for leaks. Sodium in contact with moisture produces hydrogen so we need to detect even small amounts of hydrogen and so on.

In short, there are some generic safety measures that prevent the transient to affect the core and then there are specifics, like in our case sodium-related. There are design-based accidents and non-design-based accidents which one needs to take care of.

There are dumps to remove sodium?

They are there in critical systems. We do not like to totally shut down the reactor system, as sodium solidifies on cooling and then it becomes a problem to restart the system. So certain heaters are installed.

You have gravity-based systems?

The dumping systems are gravity-based systems, thus even if there is total power failure etc as it happened in Fukushima nuclear plant (in Japan after the recent tsunami), we will have safety.     

Do you classify it as third generation or better in the normal parlance, in terms of safety?

In fact fourth generation reactors that are being talked about are fast breeders or molten salt reactors. They are sustainable. In generation there is economy and safety which defines it. In our case, if you look at the whole fuel cycle, you have to do much less uranium mining.

Plus, the long-lived radioactive actinides in the waste are recycled and burnt so that repository load decreases.

In economy a fast reactor would be expensive compared to boiling water reactors but if you put up 20 of them then it would be comparable to water reactors. This can be built in five years. We have a complete road map and we are making the essential design changes to ensure that.

How do you compare the safety systems there with that of European Pressurised Reactor from France or VVER (water-cooled, water-moderated energy reactor) from Russia?

For the common man we have to ensure the same level of robustness as far as safety is concerned even if the underlying science is different. Every reactor system has a specific dynamics of steady state, transient and accidental.

Those scenarios are discussed between the designers and utility and then the regulatory boards.

Many times the regulators ask us to do more calculations and modelling or experiments. The EPR is an evolutionary reactor, where they have built 1,000 MW and now they are going for 1650 MW. Fast reactors have been built in France, Russia etc we have studied their experience and have also studied various scenarios, seismic qualifications, thin structures etc.

We have ensured that these reactors are comparable to water reactors. We have barriers and margins. There are multi barriers and there are margins at each barrier, then the damage at each barrier in the case of accident becomes less and less.

Even in the extreme case of core meltdown, where will it go, will it go critical, how much will leak out etc -- even those issues are studied.

In the case of EPR some anxiety is there because of the size of the Jaitapur project. For example, we are building 2x1000 MW in Koodankulam but nowhere in the world are there10,000 MW nuclear islands, so how do you assure the public that the environmental impact or sea temperature rise would be tolerable?

There are internationally accepted scientific environmental impact studies and modelling. That is not a problem, so is the sea temperature issue.

Radiation hazard-related issues are no longer being raised in nuclear projects. Nowadays it is all about land acquisition policy and the possible effect on marine life due to sea temperature rise.

Land acquisition is not a science issue but others can be satisfactorily answered even to the last citizen of the nation, because livelihood is involved and climate change issues are involved. Land acquisition is a political question, which has to be sorted out in a democratic way.

In FBR, is fuelling on a campaign mode or continuous?

It will be in a campaign mode unlike the PHWRs (pressurised heavy water reactors) where it is continuous. We have designed and validated our fuel elements for 100,000 MWday/tonne burn rate, but in the future we aim to design and validate for 200,000 MWday/tonne. Then we will change the cladding material, wrapper material and go for advanced materials.

How long will your initial load of 10 tonnes of fuel last?

Two years at 100,000 MW/day.

Just to compare, how much does the VVER in Koodankulam or EPR yield?

They yield 75,000 MWday/tonne. The advantage is the life of the fuel element is only two years. So I can put my new advanced fuel with higher burn rate right in this reactor after two years.

India is already at the cutting edge in research publication in fast breeders and thorium reactors. We look forward to the commissioning this landmark reactor. Wish you all the best.

Author's Note: Soon the fast breeder at Kalpakkam will go online, taking us to the very cutting edge. It is to be noticed that our scientists achieved all this on humble government salaries, whereas surely these brilliant engineers and scientists would have made millions of dollars in the greener pastures of Silicon Valley, as many others, whose success we toast, did!

India Japan Honeymoon

Another interesting edit in Business India
Business India, Editorial, Dec 9-22, 2013
Indo-Nippon Honeymoon

The high profile visit of Japanese royalty points to the new India-Japan tango in economic and strategic affairs

It is perhaps symbolic that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan who visited India after 53 years were here earlier as Crown Prince and Princess of Japan on their honeymoon. Today the two countries too, are embarking on a strategic and economic honeymoon of their own.

The post war recovery of Japan and its second coming as an economic power did not see any significant growth in its economic relations with India. Japan was focused on North America and Europe and South East Asia and India had autarkic economic policies, while the Cold War kept Japan and India apart strategically.

 Despite liberalization Japan continued to studiously ignore the Indian economy till very recently. Suzuki’s success in the Indian auto market stood out as an exception while the rest of the Japanese companies fretted at the ‘difficulties in India’.

The situation started changing in the last decade due to political and economic developments. On the positive side the ‘Look East’ policy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is finally yielding results. asean welcomed it first and now Japan too, is joining the party. The Indian Prime Minister has doggedly pursued Japan along with the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal and has been visiting Japan regularly. The spadework has started yielding results and gained momentum with the election of Shinzo Abe a self-declared Indophile, as the new pm.

India’s public declaration of nuclear weapons status with the five nuclear tests of 1998 did appear to cause a demonstrative but a temporary setback. However, both soon understood each other’s sensitivities, while publicly sticking to their stands regarding nuclear non-proliferation treaty (npt). Finally, Japan seems to be veering around to the reality of a nuclear powered India despite a strong public sentiment against nuclear weapons. Ironically it is China which seems to be making this turn around possible with its belligerent attitude towards territorial disputes with many of its Asian neighbours, including Japan.

If signals from Tokyo and New Delhi are to be believed a civil nuclear deal between the two countries seems nearer than ever. The fact that Toshiba and Hitachi control the nuclear reactor businesses of Westinghouse and General Electric is certainly a factor in this development.

In the strategic tango, Japan is the leading partner, while India has been coy. It is being cautious about Chinese sensitivities. However in the economic tango it has been the other way around. Both are protesting too much that their emerging partnership is not aimed at any “third country”, a euphemism for China, while Beijing appears unconvinced and jittery. Clearly in the Sino-Indian strategic games from the Karakoram to the South China Sea, Japan is entering as a third factor to Beijing’s discomfiture.
While intricate strategic power games have begun, what is heartening is that India-Japan trade is emerging from torpor and picking up momentum. Two way trade has trebled in the last six years to reach $18.5 billion in 2011-12. After six years of negotiation the two countries have concluded a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (cepa), which has come into force since August 2011, which is expected to give further fillip to rapid growth in two way trade.

Japanese investment in automotive and consumer electronics and white goods segment has also surged, with more investments announced by Panasonic, Hitachi, Sony, Honda, Toyota, Nissan et al. Numerous surveys among Japanese companies show that India is becoming their preferred investment destination over China and US, despite the fact that old complaints regarding rusty infrastructure, cumbersome bureaucracy; militant labour and difficulties in land acquisition remain as before.

While imports from Japan are rising, the exports from India are not keeping pace and constitute largely, non-manufactured commodities like marine products, minerals etc. Indian it services and pharmaceutical companies are yet to make a serious dent in the highly conservative and protected fortress Japan.

The efficient execution of Delhi Metro Rail with Japanese assistance has increased India’s credibility to receive more funds for its infrastructure projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

Quite appropriately Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the guest of honour next month during the Republic Day parade and we will perhaps see more concrete announcements by both sides on the economic front.

Though largely ceremonial the Japanese royalty’s India visit has great significance in the nuanced symbolism of Japanese culture. Considering that the Empress had cancelled a visit to a Book Fair in Delhi in 1998 due to Pokharan tests, one could say “Heika o youkoso” (Welcome your majesty) .

Monday 11 November 2013

India's Mars Mission

An interesting comment on India's Mars Mission in Business India magazine editorial

Editorial: Business India, Nov 11-24, 2013

Mars Mission: ISRO Success on a Budget

We congratulate Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the successful launch of the rocket carrying India’s Mars probe, named Mangalyaan. Since then, Mangalyaan has undergone three orbit raising missions successfully. There are three more to go. It is expected to carry out several scientific experiments from its Martian orbit a year from now. The results of these modest but clever experiments are expected to enrich our knowledge of Mars.

There is still a long way to go before we declare success of the whole mission, but as the old adage goes, ‘well begun is half done’. It is all the more creditable considering that the last Mars mission sent by China and Russia two years ago failed in Earth’s orbit itself. All the players in space technology would be closely observing the developments in Mangalyaan. As the success rate of Mars missions is abysmally low and only 25 of the 42 have succeeded.

This being the 25th ‘commercial’ flight of India’s work horse rocket PSLV, international interest is inspired by more than just scientific curiosity. Hence forth, many developing countries and even some of the more advanced economies, which do not have a space program of their own, will examine seriously the possibility of using ISRO’s commercial services in satellite design and launch. Already international media is hailing ISRO as a low cost space program and have pointed out that the Mangalyaan cost India a meagre $73 million, whereas comparable missions have cost others almost ten times. Indian space program is being characterized internationally as, “Frugal Engineering” and even “Gandhian Engineering”. 

Over the years, Business India has many times examined the potential of India’s space business and has advocated a more effective global marketing effort by ISRO.

It is but natural that in an argumentative society like ours, there are those who come up with absurdities like: “why not build more toilets” etc. Naturally some in the international media are lapping up the discordant sound bites. The all-round gains to Indian society and economy through ISRO’s R&D, to name a few are: enormously improved telecommunication system; entertainment and electronic media; search and rescue; weather prediction including disaster management like the recent super cyclone Phailin; better and safer transportation through satellite navigation; many sided benefits of earth remote sensing and resource management; military intelligence and so on. Thus this well worn out debate--‘space technology or butter’, is not worth entering into.

It is to be noted that China is offering the carrot of space services to countries in India’s neighbourhood, to increase its influence in the region, while India has not. It is time ISRO offered turn-key services for communication and remote sensing satellite design and launch facilities in the neighbourhood with even some free piggy backing arrangements. There should be more coordination between the PMO, MEA and ISRO in this regard.

While we applaud ISRO’s success in the last five decades heartily, we should not ignore the challenges. Technologically the most important one is the development of Cryogenic Engine technology. India has been at it for exactly two decades without success. That will be the key to create launch capabilities for heavier satellites, communication satellites as well as manned space missions. Clearly China is way ahead of us in this respect. Second of all, even if Mangalyaan is eventually a total success, we do not yet see a clear statement of intent or vision regarding the exploration of Moon or Mars or other parts of solar system by ISRO. It all seems piece-meal and ad-hoc, announced by successive Prime Ministers on August 15, from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Though one should abhor a race with China for issues of prestige, one should clearly understand the commercial and military-strategic advantage that any nation with space technology holds vis-a-vis others.

For now, whether Mangalyaan discovers little green men or just some methane in the Martian atmosphere, let us applaud the thousands of engineers and scientists of ISRO and wish them success. We owe them at least as much, considering that they have toiled at government salaries and created strategic technologies, whereas many of them could have surely earned millions in the Silicon Valley.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Amar Bose: A life in pursuit of excellence

Amar Bose: A life in pursuit of excellence

Shivanand Kanavi

(Photographs by Palashranjan Bhaumick, poluda@gmail.com) 

Amar Bose, creator of the well-known audio brand in the world, passed away on July 12, at his home, near Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He was born of American mother and Indian father. Noni Gopal Bose, his father, was an Indian revolutionary, who had jumped into a ship to USA, in 1920, to escape from the British CID, who were chasing him.

Amar Bose was born in Philadelphia in 1929, where his mother was a school teacher and father ran a radio shop. Father continued to working as part of a support network for Indian revolutionaries in the US along with Taraknath Das.

When I met him, Amar Bose vividly recalled the hush-hush meetings in his house and the visit by a person who had escaped the horror of the massacre at Jalianwala Baug. The stories of British atrocities, which he heard from this visitor as well as from others, left an indelible impression on him.

Bose's childhood in Philadelphia was not easy either. One pictures the deep south of US as the seat of racism and bigotry, but during the ‘30s and ‘40s, right in Philadelphia, the home of Bill of Rights, the Boses had to suffer intense racial discrimination and humiliation. “My mother was a vegetarian, a Vedantin and more Indian in her outlook than I and my father. Nobody would rent a house for us. We had to send my mother house hunting, since she was white American”.

“Every time we entered a restaurant we would keep on waiting and nobody would serve us. Finally my father would call the manager, the whole restaurant would suddenly fall silent and father would make a short speech: 'Sir, we are good enough to cook and wait and serve you. We are good enough to die for this country in the wars, but we are not good enough to pay and be served. Why is that?'. Obviously, it was largely a rhetorical question and used to have no effect on the proprietor. We all used to then stand up and leave the place. My father never tried to say that he was not an African-American but an Indian. But all said and done, as far as recognising talent for what it is, there is no country like the US”, he added.

Teen aged Amar Bose picked up his love for Electronics in his father’s Radio repair shop. His brilliance showed at an early age and got him into the fabled engineering college at MIT, despite poverty at home. From there he climbed higher and higher peaks of academic brilliance, finishing with a PhD guided by Norbert Wiener, one of the greatest Mathematicians of 20th century.

He got an offer of a teaching job at MIT itself in 1956. However Norbert Wiener, who had many friends in India, advised Bose to take a Full Bright Scholarship and spend a year in India. Thus Amar Bose spent a year in Kolkata at the Indian Statistical Institute led by Prof P C Mahalnobis and in Delhi at the National Physical Laboratory, then headed by Prof K S Krishnan. Bose carried fond memories of that year spent in India.

On his return to MIT he very soon became perhaps the most popular professor for over four decades. Many of his students vouch for his energy and his brilliant teaching. He also used to set the most difficult problems for them. “At times I used to give PhD level problems to sophomores. You should stretch the students to the limit. That is how you will come to know who is capable of what and results often can surprise you”, he said.

While at MIT he innovated many things in acoustics and audio systems which led to the revolutionary Bose speakers. MIT allowed him to set up his own company, while continuing to teach. The motto of Bose Corp is “Better Sound Through research”. He stuck to it energetically and built perhaps the biggest global brand in Audio surpassing many other bigger names like Phillips and Sony.

The secret of his success has always been path breaking Research and Development. However what is not known to many is that he never remained confined to only accoustics. His outstanding innovations are also in automobile engineering, signal processing and so on. When I asked him why he had not taken the company public and raised money in the market by selling shares, he said, “As far as employees are concerned, we pay them top­ of-the-line salaries. I myself don't need the cash. In fact, every dollar of profit made in the company has been ploughed back. Moreover, taking it public will mean others (the Board of Directors- Ed) telling us how to spend our dollars in research. Some of the research pro­jects we are working on will take decades and some may not even be completed. I am sure we could not have taken up such projects if we were not free to do what we want to.”

His devotion to his alma mater, MIT, was legendary. It was marred a decade ago by his strong public disagreements with MIT’s IPR policy. But that did not stop him from going a step further and putting all his shares in Bose Corp in a Trust fund, which will benefit his alma mater!

Clearly, knowledge creation is what excited Bose. We could see that in the sparkle in his eyes and the alacrity with which he jumped up to explain technical points about wave guides; normal modes and spherical speakers; or a subtle point about non-linear systems or stochastic processes. But this acade­mic took commercial challenges also as intellectual challenges and either licked the competition or created totally new technologies. The way he conquered the Japanese market is an abject example to American corporations who constantly wring their hands about 'fortress Japan'.

He leaves behind two children son Vanu and daughter Maya. Dr Vanu Bose, an MIT alumnus himself, has founded a company, Vanu, providing solutions in wireless and cellular communications. Vanu again bridges Us and India with establishments in Boston, Bengaluru and Delhi.

To use a cliché, Amar Bose never grew old. He simply oozed positive energy. He visibly cringed if anybody called him an icon but used to jump up to the blackboard with a chalk and wave his hand all over if you discussed Physics. May he rest in peace.


Prajavani: Tribute to Prof Amar Bose

ಉತ್ಕೃಷ್ಟತೆಗೆ ತುಡಿದ ಬದುಕು
·         Wed, 07/17/2013

ವಿಶ್ವ ವಿಖ್ಯಾತವಾದ ಆಡಿಯೋ ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ `ಬೋಸ್' ಜನಕ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಇದೇ ಜುಲೈ 12ರಂದು ನಿಧನರಾದರು. ಅಮೆರಿಕದ ಮೆಸಾಚುಸೆಟ್ಸ್ ಬೋಸ್ಟನ್ ಸಮೀಪದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಅವರ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ದೇಹಾಂತ್ಯ ಸಂಭವಿಸಿತು. ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ತಾಯಿ ಅಮೆರಿಕನ್. ತಂದೆ  ನೋನಿ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಭಾರತೀಯ. ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದ ನೋನಿ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ ಬೋಸ್ 1920ರಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಬೆನ್ನು ಹತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಸಿಐಡಿಗಳಿಂದ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಹಡಗು ಹತ್ತಿ ಅಮೆರಿಕ ತಲುಪಿದವರು.
ಅಮರ್ಬೋಸ್ 1929ರಲ್ಲಿ ಫಿಲಡೆಲ್ಫಿಯಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದರು. ಆಗ ಅವರ ತಾಯಿ ಶಾಲೆಯೊಂದರಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿಕ್ಷಕಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದರು. ರೇಡಿಯೋ ರಿಪೇರಿ ಅಂಗಡಿಯೊಂದನ್ನು ನಡೆಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ತಂದೆ ನೋನಿ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲೇ  ತಾರಕನಾಥ್ ದಾಸ್ ಅವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿಕೊಂಡು ಅಮೆರಿಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾರ್ಯನಿರ್ವಹಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಭಾರತೀಯ ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಕಾರಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡುವ ಜಾಲವೊಂದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಕ್ರಿಯರಾಗಿದ್ದರು.
ನಾನು ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ರನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾದಾಗ ಅವರು ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ರಹಸ್ಯ ಸಭೆಗಳನ್ನು ನೆನಪಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಜಲಿಯನ್ ವಾಲಾಬಾಗ್ ನರಮೇಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಅದೃಷ್ಟವಶಾತ್ ಪ್ರಾಣ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಒಬ್ಬರು ತಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಗೆ ಭೇಟಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟದ್ದನ್ನು ಹೇಳಿದರು. ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮನೆಗೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಕಾರಿಗಳು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಕತೆಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ ಅಮರ್ಗೆ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷರ ದೌರ್ಜನ್ಯಗಳು ತಿಳಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು. ವಿವರಗಳು ಅರವತ್ತು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ನಂತರವೂ ಅವರ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಅಚ್ಚೊತ್ತಿದಂತೆ ಉಳಿದಿದ್ದವು.
ಫಿಲಡೆಲ್ಫಿಯಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಳೆದ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಬಾಲ್ಯವೇನೂ ಸುಲಭದ್ದಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಅಮೆರಿಕದ ದಕ್ಷಿಣದ ತುದಿಯನ್ನು ಧರ್ಮಾಂಧತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಜನಾಂಗೀಯ ಭೇದದ ಕೇಂದ್ರವನ್ನಾಗಿ ಪರಿಭಾವಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದರೆ 30 ಮತ್ತು 40 ದಶಕಗಳಲ್ಲಿ `ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳ ಮಸೂದೆ' ಹುಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಕಾರಣವಾಗಿ ಫಿಲಡೆಲ್ಫಿಯಾದಲ್ಲೂ ಬೋಸ್ ಕುಟುಂಬ ಚರ್ಮದ ಬಣ್ಣದ ಕಾರಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ತೀವ್ರ ಸ್ವರೂಪದ ತಾರತಮ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಅವಮಾನಗಳನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸಬೇಕಾಯಿತು. ಅವರೇ ಹೇಳಿದಂತೆ `ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿ ಕಟ್ಟಾ ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರಿ ಮತ್ತು ವೇದಾಂತಿ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಚಿಂತನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಕೆಯೇ ನನ್ನ ತಂದೆಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಭಾರತೀಯಳಾಗಿದ್ದಳು. ನಮಗೆ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರೂ ಬಾಡಿಗೆಗೆ ಮನೆ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮನೆ ಹುಡುಕುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಅಮ್ಮನನ್ನೇ ಕಳುಹಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆವು, ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಆಕೆ ಬಿಳಿಯಳಾದ ಅಮೆರಿಕನ್'.
`ಯಾವ ಉಪಾಹಾರ ಗೃಹಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋದರೂ ನಾವಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಕುಳಿತಿರಬೇಕಿತ್ತಷ್ಟೇ, ಯಾವ ಸರ್ವರ್ ಕೂಡಾ ನಮ್ಮ ಬಳಿ ಬರುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಅಪ್ಪ ಮ್ಯಾನೇಜರ್ನನ್ನು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು, ಇಡೀ ರೆಸ್ಟೋರೆಂಟ್ ದಿಡೀರನೆ ಮೌನಕ್ಕೆ ಶರಣಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಅಪ್ಪ ಸಣ್ಣದೊಂದು ಭಾಷಣ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು ನಾವು ನಿಮಗೆ ಅಡುಗೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಬಡಿಸಿದರೆ ನಿಮಗೆ ಆಕ್ಷೇಪವಿಲ್ಲ, ನಾವು ದೇಶಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಹೋರಾಡಿ ಸತ್ತರೆ ನೀವು ಬೇಡವೆನ್ನುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ನಾವು ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಸೇವೆ ಪಡೆಯಲು ಮಾತ್ರ ಅರ್ಹರಲ್ಲ. ಇದೇಕೆ ಹೀಗೆ?. ಇಂಥದ್ದೊಂದು ವಿಶಾಲಾತ್ಮಕ ಆಯಾಮವುಳ್ಳ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಉಪಾಹಾರ ಗೃಹದ ಮಾಲಿಕನ ಮೇಲೆ ಯಾವ ಪರಿಣಾಮವನ್ನೂ ಬೀರುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಾವೆಲ್ಲಾ ಎದ್ದು ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಹೊರಟುಬಿಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆವು. ಇಷ್ಟಾದರೂ ಅಪ್ಪ ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ತಾನು `ಆಫ್ರಿಕನ್-ಅಮೆರಿಕನ್' ಅಲ್ಲ ತಾನು `ಭಾರತೀಯ' ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದೇನೇ ಇದ್ದರೂ ಅವರ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯದಂತೆ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆಯನ್ನು ಗುರುತಿಸುವುದರ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಅಮೆರಿಕದಂಥ ದೇಶ ಮತ್ತೊಂದಿಲ್ಲ'
ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ಗೆ ಎಲೆಕ್ಟ್ರಾನಿಕ್ಸ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಆಸಕ್ತಿ ಮೂಡಿದ್ದು ಅವರ ಹದಿಹರೆಯದಲ್ಲಿ. ಅದಕ್ಕೊಂದು ಬಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಪ್ಪನ ರೇಡಿಯೋ ಅಂಗಡಿಯೇ ಕಾರಣವಾಯಿತು. ಚಿಕ್ಕಂದಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಕಲಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಸಾಧಾರಣ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆಯಿದ್ದುದರಿಂದ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಆಗಲೇ ದಂತಕತೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದ `ಎಂಐಟಿಯ ಎಂಜಿನಿಯರಿಂಗ್ ಕಾಲೇಜಿನಲ್ಲಿ' ಪ್ರವೇಶ ದೊರೆಯಿತು. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಅವರು ಬೌದ್ಧಿಕತೆಯ ಶಿಖರಗಳನ್ನು ಏರುತ್ತಲೇ ಹೋದರು. 20ನೇ ಶತಮಾನದ ಬಹುದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣಿತಜ್ಞ ನಾರ್ಬರ್ಟ್ ವೀನರ್ ಅವರ ಮಾರ್ಗದರ್ಶನದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಪಿಎಚ್ಡಿ ಪೂರೈಸಿದರು.
1956ರಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ಗೆ `ಎಂಐಟಿ'ಯಲ್ಲೇ ಅಧ್ಯಾಪನ ವೃತ್ತಿಯ ಅವಕಾಶ ದೊರೆತಿತ್ತು. ಆದರೆ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವು ಗೆಳೆಯರನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದ ನಾರ್ಬರ್ಟ್ ವೀನರ್ ಫುಲ್ಬ್ರೈಟ್ ಫೆಲೋಶಿಪ್ ಪಡೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಸೂಚಿಸಿದರು. ಅದರಂತೆ ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್, ಪಿ.ಸಿ.ಮಹಲನೊಬಿಸ್ ಅವರ ನೇತೃತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಕೊಲ್ಕೊತ್ತಾದ `ಇಂಡಿಯನ್ ಸ್ಟ್ಯಾಟಿಸ್ಟಿಕಲ್ ಇನ್ಸ್ಟಿಟ್ಯೂಟ್' ಮತ್ತು   ಪ್ರೊ. ಕೆ.ಎಸ್. ಕೃಷ್ಣನ್ ಅವರ ನೇತೃತ್ವದ ದೆಹಲಿಯ `ನ್ಯಾಷನಲ್ ಫಿಸಿಕಲ್ ಲ್ಯಾಬೊರೇಟರಿ'ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ನಿರತರಾಗಿದ್ದರು.
ಭಾರತದಿಂದ ಹಿಂದಿರುಗಿದ ನಂತರ ಎಂಐಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಧ್ಯಾಪನ ಆರಂಭಿಸಿದ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ನಾಲ್ಕು ದಶಕಗಳ ಕಾಲ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಜನಪ್ರಿಯ ಅಧ್ಯಾಪಕರಾಗಿದ್ದರು. ಅವರ ಬೋಧನಾ ಕೌಶಲ ಮತ್ತು ಉತ್ಸಾಹವನ್ನು ಅವರ ಅನೇಕ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು ಈಗಲೂ ನೆನಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅವರು ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಕಠಿಣ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮುಂದೊಡ್ಡಿ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ತಮ್ಮ ಗುಣದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಹೇಳುವುದು ಹೀಗೆ. `ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ಸಾಮರ್ಥ್ಯವನ್ನು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ಬಳಸುವಂತೆ ನೋಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು. ಆಗ ಮಾತ್ರ ಯಾರು ಯಾವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಮರ್ಥರು ಎಂಬುದು ತಿಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಫಲಿತಾಂಶ ನಿಮ್ಮನ್ನೇ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯಚಕಿತರನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು'
`ಎಂಐಟಿ'ಯಲ್ಲಿರುವಾಗ ಅವರು ಧ್ವನಿ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ ಮತ್ತು ಆಡಿಯೋ ಸಿಸಂರ್ಟಗಳ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ಆವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಾರಣರಾದರು. ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಪ್ರಖ್ಯಾತ `ಬೋಸ್ ಸ್ಪೀಕರ್'ಗಳ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯಾದವು.
ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಅಧ್ಯಾಪನ ವೃತ್ತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮುಂದುವರಿಯುತ್ತಲೇ ಸ್ವಂತ ಕಂಪೆನಿ `ಬೋಸ್ ಕಾರ್ಪ್' ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕೂ `ಎಂಐಟಿ' ಅನುಮತಿ ನೀಡಿತು. ಕಂಪೆನಿಯ ಧ್ಯೇಯ ವಾಕ್ಯ `ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಯ ಮೂಲಕ ಉತ್ತಮ ಧ್ವನಿ'. ಧ್ಯೇಯಕ್ಕೆ ಬದ್ಧರಾಗಿ ಉಳಿದ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್, ಸೋನಿ, ಫಿಲಿಪ್ಸ್ನಂಥ ಬೃಹತ್ ಕಂಪೆನಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಸೆಡ್ಡು ಹೊಡೆದು ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ಅತಿ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಆಡಿಯೋ ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಒಂದನ್ನು ರೂಪಿಸಿದರು.
ಅವರ ಯಶಸ್ಸಿನ ಹಿಂದಿದ್ದ ರಹಸ್ಯ ಮಾರ್ಗಪ್ರವರ್ತಕ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಅದನ್ನು ಆಧಾರವಾಗಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡ ಅಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿ. ಆಡಿಯೋಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ ಅವರ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗಳಷ್ಟು ಅವರ ಇತರ ಕೆಲಸಗಳು ಹೊರ ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆಟೋಮೊಬೈಲ್ ಮತ್ತು ಸಿಗ್ನಲ್ ಪ್ರೊಸೆಸಿಂಗ್ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಕ್ಕೂ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ಅವರ ಸಂಶೋಧನಾ ಕಾಣ್ಕೆಗಳು ದೊಡ್ಡವು.
ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕಂಪೆನಿಯೇಕೆ ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕರಿಗೆ ಷೇರುಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾರಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಬಂಡವಾಳ ಸಂಗ್ರಹಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಮಾಡಲಿಲ್ಲ? ಎಂಬ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗೆ ಅವರು ನೀಡಿದ ಉತ್ತರ ಕುತೂಹಲಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದೆ `ನಮ್ಮ ಉದ್ಯೋಗಿಗಳಿಗೆ ನಾವು ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮವಾದ ಸಂಬಳ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇವೆ. ನನಗೆ ಹಣ ಬೇಕಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಕಂಪೆನಿಗೆ ಬರುವ ಒಂದೊಂದು ಡಾಲರ್ ಲಾಭವನ್ನು ಮತ್ತೆ ಅಲ್ಲೇ ತೊಡಗಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ. ಕಂಪೆನಿಯನ್ನು ಷೇರು ಮಾರಾಟದ ಮೂಲಕ ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕಗೊಳಿಸುವುದರಿಂದ ನಾವು ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗೆ ಹೇಗೆ ವೆಚ್ಚ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಇತರರು (ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕರ ಮಂಡಳಿ) ಹೇಳುವಂತಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ನಾವು ಕೈಗೆತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ಕೆಲವು ಯೋಜನೆಗಳು ಮುಗಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ದಶಕಗಳಷ್ಟು ಸಮಯ ಬೇಕು. ಕೆಲವು ದಶಕಗಳುರುಳಿದ ನಂತರವೂ ಮುಗಿಯದೇ ಉಳಿಯಬಹುದು. ನಮ್ಮ ಹಣವನ್ನು ಖರ್ಚು ಮಾಡುವ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯ ನಮಗಿಲ್ಲದೇ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಇಂಥ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಕೈಗೆತ್ತಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ'.
`ಎಂಐಟಿ' ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅವರಿಗಿದ್ದ ಅಭಿಮಾನವೂ ಒಂದು ದಂತ ಕಥೆಯೇ. ಬೌದ್ಧಿಕ ಆಸ್ತಿ ಹಕ್ಕಿಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ `ಎಂಐಟಿ' ನೀತಿ ಕುರಿತು ಅವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಭಿನ್ನಾಭಿಪ್ರಾಯವನ್ನು ಬಹಿರಂಗವಾಗಿಯೇ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಪಡಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ, ವಿಚಾರವೇನೂ ಅವರು ಬೋಸ್ಕಾರ್ಪ್ನಲ್ಲಿನ ತಮ್ಮ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಷೇರುಗಳನ್ನು `ಎಂಐಟಿ'ಗೆ ಸಂಪನ್ಮೂಲ ಒದಗಿಸುವ ಒಂದು ಟ್ರಸ್ಟ್ಗೆ ಹಸ್ತಾಂತರಿಸುವ ನಿರ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಅಡ್ಡಿಯಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ.
ಜ್ಞಾನದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿ ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ರನ್ನು ಪ್ರಚೋದಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಸಂಗತಿ. ದ್ವನಿ ತರಂಗಗಳು, ಗೋಲಾಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಳವಡಿಸಲಾಗುವ ಸ್ಪೀಕರುಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ವಿವರಿಸುವ ಸಂದರ್ಭ ಬಂದಾಗಲೆಲ್ಲಾ ಅವರ ಕಣ್ಣುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಳಹು ಮತ್ತು ಉತ್ಸಾಹವನ್ನು ಗುರುತಿಸಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. ಬೌದ್ಧಿಕ ಸವಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು, ವಾಣಿಜ್ಯಾತ್ಮಕ ಸವಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು ಒಂದೇ ಬಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎದುರಿಸಿ ಎದುರಾಳಿಗಳನ್ನು ಮಣಿಸಿದ್ದಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲದೇ ಹೊಸ ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನವನ್ನು ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿದ ಅಪರೂಪದ ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸ ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್. ಜಪಾನಿ ಕಂಪೆನಿಗಳನ್ನು ಸೋಲಿಸಿದ್ದು ಇದಕ್ಕೊಂದು ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಉತ್ತಮ ಉದಾಹರಣೆ. ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಅಮೆರಿಕದ ಕಂಪೆನಿಗಳು `ಜಪಾನಿ ಕೋಟೆ' ಎದುರು ಕೈಚೆಲ್ಲಿಬಿಡುತ್ತವೆ.
ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ ತಮ್ಮ ಮಗ ವನು ಮತ್ತು ಮಗಳು ಮಾಯಾರನ್ನು ಅಗಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಡಾ. ವನು ಬೋಸ್ ಸ್ವತಃ ಎಂಐಟಿಯ ಹಳೆಯ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿ, ಅವರು ತಮ್ಮದೇ ಒಂದು ಕಂಪೆನಿಯನ್ನು ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅದು ನಿಸ್ತಂತು ಮತ್ತು ಸೆಲ್ಯುಲಾರ್ ಸಂವಹನ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಅಗತ್ಯವಿರುವ ಪರಿಹಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಒದಗಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದರ ಘಟಕಗಳು ಬೋಸ್ಟನ್, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಮತ್ತು ದೆಹಲಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಒಂದು ಕ್ಲೀಷೆಯನ್ನು ಬಳಸುವುದಾದರೆ, ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ಗೆ ವಯಸ್ಸಾಗಲೇ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಅವರಿಂದ ಸದಾ ಧನಾತ್ಮಕ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಒಸರುತ್ತಲೇ ಇತ್ತು. ಅಮರ್ ಬೋಸ್ರನ್ನು ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಸಾಧಕನೆಂದರೆ ಅವರು ತಕ್ಷಣ ಮುದುಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಿಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ಭೌತಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದ ಕುರಿತು ಚರ್ಚಿಸೋಣವೆಂದರೆ ಪುಟಿದೆದ್ದು ಚಾಕ್ ಪೀಸ್ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕಪ್ಪು ಹಲಗೆಯ ಎದುರು ನಿಂತುಬಿಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಅವರ ಆತ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ಶಾಂತಿ ದೊರೆಯಲಿ.
ಫಿಲಡೆಲ್ಫಿಯಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಜನನ                                                               1929
ಎಂಐಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎಂಜಿನಿಯರಿಂಗ್ ವ್ಯಾಸಂಗ                                        1947-56, (BS, MS, PhD)
ನ್ಯಾಷನಲ್ ಫಿಸಿಕಲ್ ಲ್ಯಾಬೊರೇಟರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ       1956-57
ಎಂಐಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಲ್ಕು ದಶಕ ಜನಪ್ರಿಯ ಅಧ್ಯಾಪಕ
‘ಬೋಸ್ ಕಾರ್ಪ್ಸ್ಥಾಪನೆ                                                              1964

(ಲೇಖಕರು ಭೌತಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಜ್ಞ ಮತ್ತು ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತ. ಈಗ ಟಾಟಾ ಬಳಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೀನಿಯರ್ ಎಕ್ಸಿಕ್ಯೂಟಿವ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ. `ಸ್ಯಾಂಡ್ ಟು ಸಿಲಿಕಾನ್: ಅಮೇಜಿಂಗ್ ಸ್ಟೋರಿ ಆಫ್ ಡಿಜಿಟಲ್ ಟೆಕ್ನಾಲಜಿ' ಇವರ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಕೃತಿ.)
ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು: ಪಲಶ್ರಂಜನ್ ಭೌಮಿಕ್