A scientist never retires: Partha Sarathi Roy

Winner of the Isro Performance Excellence Award, professor Partha Sarathi Roy talks about his research career and more...

Professor Partha Sarathi Roy’s love for botany and life sciences started as an act of rebellion. Roy could not clear his MBBS entrance exams, much to the disappointment of his parents. Neither was he interested to become a doctor. Instead, he took up botany and did a PhD in ecology. It was a choice that served him well.

Roy, now a senior scientist at the University Centre of Earth and Space Sciences (UCESS) at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) was recently awarded the Isro Performance Excellence Award.

The scientist, who spent 35 years at Isro, has won several awards, including the Professional Excellence Award in 2015 and humbly attributes all his success to the team he works with. “These achievements have been possible due to the excellent team with which I work. The guidance provided by the senior leaders of Isro was useful in shaping my professional career,” he says, adding that the award came as a pleasant surprise to him.

His philosophy of life is simple. “The best way to deal with challenges is by negotiation. A life without impediments is not challenging. We must always negotiate with them. I always set bigger milestones for myself. Obviously, I have to take tough routes and make a few sacrifices,” he says.

Over the years, those sacrifices included not being able to devote enough time to his family.

“Today, my family is the happiest of the lot. Because of my professional life, I have been unable to give enough time to my wife and kids. But now that they see my efforts are being recognised, they are happy. And seeing them satisfied is the best feeling.”

He also adds that his wife has been a big support to him. Asked to name the major influences during his research career, Professor Roy reminisces, “During my research, I visited iconic laboratories in Europe. The exposure was the main motivator. I was fortunate to learn about remote sensing from leading scientists like Professor G. Hilderbrandt of University of Frieburg, Germany, during the early stages of my professional life. His influence on my research career was immense.”

Today, it is in Hyderabad, a place where he has spent 17 years of his professional life, that Professor Roy hopes to continue doing what he loves the most.

“At University of Hyderabad, I am involved in research pertaining to the climate variability in agriculture and ecosystem services of forests. The university receives bright students and I would like to keep interacting with young minds. If I can share my research experience and knowledge, I will be the happiest person. A scientist never retires. He only moves from one phase of life to another.”

He adds, “Earth observation and satellite remote sensing are not incorporated in the curriculum at undergraduate and graduate level. The roles of these new developments have also not been incorporated in the research topics at universities. I want to spread awareness about these through interactions and group discussions.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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