Purdue celebrated International Ideas Festival in Mumbai, India

Astronaut and Purdue alumnus Jerry Ross was the featured speaker at the Jan. 18 International Ideas Festival in Mumbai, India, where the university celebrated 150 years of Giant Leaps.

This was Purdue’s largest global Ideas Festival and the only one that focused on all of the 150th Giant Leaps themes – space, artificial intelligence, health and sustainability. While celebrating the university’s global advancements over the past 150 years, the half-day event challenged audience members to think deeply about the most pressing challenges and opportunities the world faces in the next 150 years and beyond.

The half-day event featured the India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series in honor of Purdue alumnus CNR Rao, chemistry professor and Bharat Ratna awardee.

Jerry RossRoss gave the keynote presentation, “My Journey as a NASA Astronaut: What IF We Found Evidence of Previous Life on Mars?” Ross is the first human to be launched into space seven times. During his career with NASA, he logged more than 1,393 hours in space. Ross’s keynote highlighted the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Space: Earth, Exploration and Economics.”

Other speakers included:

* Ambarish Kenghe, who presented “What IF AI is the New Electricity?” Kenghe is the senior product director of Google Pay. He received his master’s degree in computer science at Purdue and was instrumental in launching Chromecast. This presentation aligned with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Automation.”

* Vijay Chandru, who presented “What IF You Could Lead a Healthy and Productive Life Until You Were 164 Years Old?” Chandru is the INAE Distinguished Technologist at Indian Institute of Science’s Division of Interdisciplinary Research. He is also the co-founder and director of Yantri Labs Inc. and the founder director of Strand Life Sciences. Chandru researched computational and decision sciences at Purdue, and was one of the inventors of the award-winning Simputer. This presentation aligned with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Health, Longevity and Quality of Life.”

* Ravi Venkatesan, who presented “What IF Every Young Person Were a Leader?” Venkatesan is the special representative for young people and innovation at UNICEF and a founder of the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship. Venkatesan received his master’s degree from Purdue and served as a chairman of Microsoft India. This presentation aligned with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Sustainable Economy and Planet.”

Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Garimella was recently appointed by President Donald Trump to the National Science Board. Members are selected for their eminence in research, education and records of distinguished service.

The event, which was held at the Taj Santacruz Hotel in Mumbai, was sponsored by GVK, Wockhardt Limited, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, SMT, Purdue India Alumni Network, DCM Shriram, and Alok Nanda & Co.

Check out the photo gallery from the event.

For more information on the Purdue-India strategic partnership, please visit www.purdue.edu/india.

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