In conversation with Dr Vishnu Viswanathan

Transitioning to a distinct STEM field requires a deep understanding of one’s strengths and passion. Read further to find more about the journey of Dr Vishnu Viswanathan, a Research Scientist at NASA!

Please elaborate on your profile and describe a typical day in your work. What is the most challenging part and how do you equip yourself to face such challenges?

What motivated you to pursue a master’s in Space Systems Engineering after majoring in ECE in your undergrad? What/Who were your inspirations back in college to start working in your present domain? Did you take up any project in this domain during your BTech?

What was the motivation behind pursuing your higher education in Europe? How do you think the culture around education in Europe is different from the US?

The decision to opt for a PhD is a very crucial one. What, in your opinion, is the right time to decide?

What are the alternate trajectories to build careers that the people willing to work in NASA can follow? How is the growth outlook for fresh grads from India to be able to work at NASA?

What are the challenges faced by a research scientist while trying to understand the interior structure of planetary bodies?

What can one learn about the interior of the Moon from the laser data?

What is the dynamic model of the Moon? How do scientists use lasers to model celestial objects dynamically?

Are there any citizen scientist-based projects where one could learn about the geophysical nature of planets?

Given the recent advancements in the field of CubeSat engineering, what kind of payload designs should the current college students aim at?

Can laser-ranging techniques be extended to deduce the ephemeris of asteroids?

Since you also have teaching experience at Grad and undergrad level, how has your perspective changed being on the other side? Is there something you’d suggest to students you wished you knew when you were a student?

Many fresh PhD graduates have a dilemma whether to get postdoctoral research experience before applying for positions in academia. How does one decide whether to pursue a postdoctoral position before applying for jobs in academia?

Have you come across any mental roadblocks along the way? How did you stay focused throughout your extensive education?

How has your experience and extracurriculars at NIT-T shaped your career growth? How was your experience volunteering for social causes and do you continue to find avenues to do the same?

What do you think are the inadequacies in research in India, and specifically in NIT-T?

In retrospect, what are some things about your career path that you wish you knew from college and could have done better?

How do you interface with other domains of work when working in your domain? How do you suggest people make themselves adaptable to interdisciplinary projects?

What would you like to say to the current B-Tech undergraduates interested in a career in astrophysics?

“Pale. Blue. Dot.”

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