December 17, 2018

Purdue to celebrate International Ideas Festival in Mumbai, India

Astronaut Jerry Ross is the keynote speaker

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Astronaut and Purdue alumnus Jerry Ross is the featured speaker at the Jan. 18 International Ideas Festival in Mumbai, India, where the university will celebrate 150 years of Giant Leaps.

Jerry Ross Jerry Ross (Purdue University photo) Download image

This will be Purdue’s largest global Ideas Festival and the only one that focuses on all of the 150th Giant Leaps themes – space, artificial intelligence, health and sustainability. While celebrating the university’s global advancements over the past 150 years, the half-day event will challenge audience members to think deeply about the most pressing challenges and opportunities the world faces in the next 150 years and beyond.

The half-day event will feature the India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series in honor of Purdue alumnus CNR Rao, chemistry professor and Bharat Ratna awardee. More information and registration are available online.

Ross will give the keynote presentation, “My Journey as a NASA Astronaut: What IF We Found Evidence of Previous Life on Mars?” Ross is the first human to be launched into space seven times. During his career with NASA, he logged more than 1,393 hours in space. Ross’s keynote highlights the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Space: Earth, Exploration and Economics.”

Other speakers include:

* Ambarish Kenghe, presenting “What IF AI is the New Electricity?” Kenghe is the senior product director of Google Pay. He received his master’s degree in computer science at Purdue and was instrumental in launching Chromecast. This presentation aligns with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Automation.”

* Vijay Chandru, presenting “What IF You Could Lead a Healthy and Productive Life Until You Were 164 Years Old?” Chandru is the INAE Distinguished Technologist at Indian Institute of Science’s Division of Interdisciplinary Research. He is also the co-founder and director of Yantri Labs Inc. and the founder director of Strand Life Sciences. Chandru researched computational and decision sciences at Purdue, and was one of the inventors of the award-winning Simputer. This presentation aligns with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Health, Longevity and Quality of Life.”

* Ravi Venkatesan, presenting “What IF Every Young Person Were a Leader?” Venkatesan is the special representative for young people and innovation at UNICEF and a founder of the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship. Venkatesan received his master’s degree from Purdue and served as a chairman of Microsoft India. This presentation aligns with the sesquicentennial Ideas Festival theme “Sustainable Economy and Planet.”

Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Garimella was recently appointed by President Donald Trump to the National Science Board. Members are selected for their eminence in research, education and records of distinguished service.

The event, which will be held at the Taj Santacruz Hotel in Mumbai, is sponsored by GVK, Wockhardt Limited, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, SMT, Purdue India Alumni Network, and Alok Nanda & Co. 

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, 

News Service contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in requesting event credentials need to contact Paradigm Shift at by 5 p.m. IST on Jan. 14, 2019.

A related video is available at:

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