October 15th is Observed as World Students' Day to commemorate the Birth anniversary of former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The legendary person was a great teacher, an eminent scientist and a great statesman. Born and raised in Rameswaram, in southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Kalam served the nation as 11th President from 2002 to 2007.
Kalam studied physics and aerospace engineering. Kalam was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn. He also had keen interest in Mathematics. After completing his education at the Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.
Dr. Kalam moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
Scholarship was about to get revoked:
Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with his lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. Kalam met the deadline, impressing the Dean, who later said to him, "I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline."
Dream to join Indian Air force shattered
He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.
He joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist after becoming a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS).
Pivotal role in Pokhran-II nuclear tests
Kalam also played a pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
He started his career by designing a small hovercraft, but remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO.
Kalam joined the INCOSPAR, working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.
He was interviewed and recruited into ISRO by H. G. S. Murthy, the first Director of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS).
In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980;
Kalam had first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.
In 1969, Kalam received the government's approval and expanded the programme to include more engineers.
Missile Man of India:
Dr. Kalam came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.