Public Lectures and Open Colloquia

Curiosity's Entry Descent and Landing on Mars
Dr. Anita Sengupta, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
16 August, 2013, Science City, Kolkata

On August 5th 2012, NASA landed its most capable robotic geologist, the Curiosity rover, on the surface of the Red Planet. Curiosity searched for organic compounds, characterized the climate and geology of Mars, and searched for signatures of life. Dr. Anita Sengupta, who played a leading role in designing the entry, descent and landing system of the Curiosity rover, described the motivation for Mars Exploration and how the challenges of landing Curiosity were met. Over 3500 members of the public, a dominant fraction of which were school students from Kolkata and neighbouring regions attended this lecture. The American Center (US Consulate General Kolkata), Vigyan Mancha, Science City Kolkata partnered with CESSI, IISER Kolkata in the organization of this lecture.

The Future of Learning
Dr. Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, UK
11 February, 2015, IISER Kolkata

Sugata Mitra is an eminent innovator in the field of education and has been credited with more than 25 inventions in the area of cognitive sciences and educational technology. He was conferred the prestigious Dewang Mehta Award for innovation in Information Technology in the year 2005. Amongst many other awards, he was awarded the 1 million dollar TED Prize in 2013 for his Hole in the Wall experiment. In this lecture, supported by his experiments, he challenged current structures prevalent in our educational system and suggested new models in social, cognitive learning.

The Quiet Thunder of Gravity in the Cosmos
Dr. Rana Adhikari, California Institute of Technology and the LHC Consourtium
19 April, 2016, IISER Kolkata

Through his leadership role in the LIGO consortium Rana Adhikari played an integral role in the discovery of astrophysical gravitational waves, a century after their existence was predicted by Albert Einstein. This was a ground breaking effort in which CESSI personnel also had significant contributions. In this talk, Rana highlighted the challenges and excitement of developing the LIGO instrument, the hunt for gravitational waves and the opening up of a new window of exploration of the Universe.