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Pi Tech: A Pan-IIT Initiative

By Ashok Srivastava
December 15, 2006 16:44 IST
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The Pi Tech magazine is an initiative of Pan-IIT, which is a global alumni organisation of all the seven Indian Institutes of Technology.

Pi Tech was launched during Pan-IIT 2005 Global Conference held in Washington DC in May 2005. A group of IIT volunteers full of energy, enthusiasm and determination teamed up with Nitish Thakor (Editor-In-Chief) to produce Pi Tech.

In the true spirit of globalisation, they remained connected through the Internet to gather and edit the material for the magazine and cooperated through international conference calls lasting till late hours into the night to get the magazine ready. The articles and news from the seven IITs, as well as from many alumni spread globally, were collected and edited in the United States, the content was assembled in India, printed in Canada and distributed in Washington DC. Pi Tech was thus born.

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Describing the purpose of Pi Tech, Nitish Thakor writes, "The IITs are prestigious centers of technology education and research in India. Over the five decades of their existence, they have acquired a reputation for turning out quality research and very capable graduates. However, much of the good work that is done by the IITsĀ  and by IIT-ians gets a limited press. The goal of Pi Tech publication is to provide the IITs with a common voice and a forum in which to announce the technological innovations of their faculty, students and alumni."

Each issue of Pi Tech has a central theme and a large part of the magazine is devoted to news, features and opinions related to that theme. The first issue of Pi Tech focussed on nanotechnology, while the second issue focused on biotechnology. The upcoming third issue will feature technologies for India's rural transformation.

In addition to the central theme, each issue has a secondary theme like disaster preparedness, technologies for health, India's Knowledge Commission Initiative, etc. Then there is a section devoted to news and opinions from each IIT, a section on research by IIT-ians and some coverage of technology developments in India and abroad.

Regular columns cover major awards to IIT-ians, student activities like Tech Fest and columns on the lighter side, such as Dilbert cartoons and brainy side, such as puzzles and mathematical oddities (in a column named Power of Pi).

Pi Tech is currently published bi-annually. It is distributed to diverse audience ranging from IIT students, faculty and alumni to policy makers, business persons, chambers of commerce, academicians, etc. Pi Tech is distributed in India as well as globally.

Pi Tech has been offered very strong support by ministry of science and technology, Government of India. Kapil Sibal, Minister for Science and Technology, has announced that Pi Tech will be funded by his ministry to be an advocate for science and technology. His vision is that Pi Tech will grow into the forum for discussion of policy related to science and technology and eventually transformation of India.

The Confederation of Indian Industry has associated with Global Pan-IITĀ  for promoting Pi Tech amongst Indian industries. R Seshasayee, CII president, writes, "The magazine is becoming a connection point as well as showcase for research and innovation for IIT alumni."

Hiten Ghosh and Suresh Shenoy, co-presidents of Pan-IIT Alumni Association say, "Pi Tech will continue branding the IITs by publishing the achievements of IITs and IIT-ians."

The Pan-IIT 2006 Global Conference will be held in Mumbai from Dec 23 to 25, 2006. On the eve of the conference, Pradeep Gupta, chairman Pan-IIT Alumni India Board, and Ashank Desai, the conference chair, have said, "Pi Tech third issue's theme, India's rural transformation: Technologies lead the way, is inspired by one of the key objectives of Pan-IIT Alumni -- to contribute to nation building.

This is also the theme selected this year for the 4th Pan-IIT Global Conference being held in Mumbai. Pi Tech lives up to the mission of Pan-IIT for IIT-ians, 'to Inspire, Involve and Transform India.'

The author is a mechanical engg graduate from IIT, Kharagpur.

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