When 2 Mysuru boys won the hearts of Nobel Laureates!
While all through the 103ISC OneIndia constantly reminded the duo - Dr CD Mohan and Dr KS Sharath Kumar - for an interview, they refused to interact citing their commitment towards top scientific brains.
"We were hooked on to the Noble Laureates. We had to ensure that they did not even have to look around for a pin head. It was a top assignment and we had to stay focussed until they left India," says Dr Mohan about their marathon mission.
Nobel Laureates Prof John B Gurdon, Prof Dan Shechtman, Prof Serge Haroche, Prof Art McDonald and Fields Medalist Prof Manjul Bhargava were all in constant touch with Dr Mohan and Dr Sharath as early as May 2015.
Dr Mohan (28) is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biochemistry with the University of Mysore, while Dr Sharath (28) is an Assistant Professor in Chemistry.
Top scientific brains had simple needs
"We were humbled to see the simple needs of these great brains. It was a learning process for all of us. Prof Manjul Bhargava impressed me with his knowledge on Ramanujan, which was as an eye-opener for me," says Dr Sharath.
According to Dr Mohan it was an unforgettable experience communicating with the Nobel scientists.
"We had to coordinate at different levels and with different people. In some cases there were unseen hurdles that came up and we had to negate them within no time. Our task was to respond to the queries of these top guests within 10-15 minutes," says Dr Mohan.
One of the Nobel Laureate's had a harrowing time when his visa formalities got stuck at the embassy level.
Upset with the poor response system of the embassy website, the scientist even thought of backing out from his India trip.
The matter was resolved after both Dr Mohan and Dr Sharath kept their cool and activated various channels at the High Commissioner's Office.
"Really tense moments and we had to operate from Mysuru pulling out all available resources," says Dr Sharath.
University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor Prof KS Rangappa told OneIndia that he had the enormous task of putting the right kind of people for different tasks.
"None would have spared us if any of the Nobel Laureates made any adverse comments on our arrangements. We had many Mohans and Sharaths in our team who were silently executing their work for many months leading to 103ISC. Yes, the boys did a great job. All is well, that ends well," Prof Rangappa said.
Both have farming backgrounds
Both have farming backgrounds and have been thick friends during their PhD course with University of Mysore. They were hand-picked for the top job purely due to their ability to respond to any situation on priority.
The duo says they would have sent over 500 emails in a span of six months to Nobel Laureates and their secretaries. The topics varied from travel itinerary, stay, local transport, transit flights, topic of their talk, airport arrangements and liaison officials to name a few.
"We are touched by their humble beings. They had no demands. No complaints. They were so much involved in their work. They wasted no time. We have a lot to learn from them. We were lucky to have served them," says Dr Mohan.
Interestingly, both Dr Mohan and Dr Sharath requested only once for a group photo with their top guests, which they readily obliged.
They said the Nobel Laureates were impressed with the majestic charm of Mysuru city.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. Currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow with University of Mysore, he is a Consulting Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)