Meet Jaykumar Vaidya, From the slums of Mumbai to a scientist at NASA, this Indian scientist has won three national awards and four state awards in robotics.
Jaykumar is currently involved in fine-tuning mass spectrometers for Mars, the Moon, and the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
He grew up in a small Mumbai slum with his mom in an 8×10 room in Kurla, lived on vada pav and studied under streetlights. His father left his mother when she was pregnant making her the sole breadwinner of the family.
They struggled to pay for his schooling, and some even suggested he become a driver. But Jaikumar loved science, inspired by space shows on TV.
Graduating in Electrical Engineering from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, he won accolades in Robotics, securing an internship with Larsen and Toubro. Working odd jobs like soldering and teaching online, he managed to pay off debts and save for his family.
Joining the prestigious Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) as a researcher, Jaikumar juggled odd jobs, including soldering and online teaching for international students, to support his education and family.
During his time at the TIFR, the budding scientist published two scientific papers in reputed international scientific journals in 2017 and 2018 respectively. These papers caught the attention of the University of Virginia where Vaidya joined as a graduate research assistant.
In 2022, when Jaykumar Vaidya was about to start a new job after leaving Goddard, NASA offered him an amazing opportunity.
Now, he’s an engineer there and at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He works on making sure machines for Mars, the Moon, and the Earth’s sky work well. He’s part of the big group working on the NASA Mission 2023 program.
His vision is for India to evolve into an independent hub for manufacturing technology. Jay wishes to start a research hub in India that focuses on harnessing the advantages of emerging electronic devices to create a non-volatile, low-power, fast switching memory.
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