ISRO chief K Sivan known as ‘sleepless scientist’ among his peers was recently spotted taking selfies with a crew onboard an Indigo flight. The video of the incident has gone viral on social media and netizens have hailed him for travelling in Economy despite the post he holds. K Sivan also got a round of applause from the passengers seated in the plane.
Born on April 14, 1957 in a family of paddy farmer, Sivan spent his childhood years in studying and helping his father in fields. According to NDTV, Sivan reportedly said that he didn’t have sandals till he went to college. He never had trousers and used to wear dhotis. What helped him to get on path of science was his brilliance in mathematics. As his father was not able to pay high fees of engineering course, Sivan went on to pursue a Bachelors in mathematics at ST Hindu college in Nagercoil. His exceptional success helped him to get scholarship at the Madras Institute of Technology.
His father had to sell part of his agricultural land to fund his education at MIT. Sivan took up the study of aeronautical engineering at MIT. It was the same course, which was studied by former President APJ Abdul Kalam. “He (Kalam) was batch number four and I was batch number 29. Same subject but 25 years apart," Sivan was quoted as saying by a Mint report. He then went on to complete his ME in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in 1980 and joined the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1982. Sivan completed his PhD in Aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2006.
Nearly four decades after working at the space agency, Sivan was named as the ISRO chief in January, 2018. During his tenure at ISRO and affiliate organisations, Sivan has contributed to multiple programmes including the development of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project— called the workhorse of ISRO—and contributed towards mission planning, mission design, mission integration and analysis.