Mechanical Engineering/Statement of purpose-7


                                 "Complex things are made using simple concepts and principles." Looking back at my schooling days, this was the essence of thought that went through my mind as I fidgeted with the various pieces of equipment and machinery I found at home. This curiosity for knowing "how things worked" has come a long way, from a science club member, who demonstrated experiments to fellow students in school to a "How Things Work" event volunteer in my undergraduate years of study. Even today, when I look at a multi-task horizontal machining centre, my mind wanders around the wonders of man-machine capabilities.

Math and Physical Sciences exposed me to new concepts and my quest to use them for practical applications prompted me to continue my studies in engineering. Good problem solving ability and sharp analytical skills helped me secure a good rank in the Joint Entrance Examination conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology. A penchant for mechanical devices led me to enroll myself in the Mechanical Engineering curriculum.

In the last three and a half years, my skills in Basic sciences have been honed and my competency put to the test. The projects and term papers have helped me get a better feel for the problem at hand. The "Paper Bridge" that I built during the course titled "Industrial Design" and the "Mud Scooper" as part of the course "Dynamics of Machinery" has been a test of my innovation and enthusiasm. The coursework has exposed me to the vastness of Mechanical Engineering. Courses like Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer and Control Systems helped me appreciate the power of Mathematics in analysis, while Manufacturing Technology, Computer Aided Design and Automobile Engineering have kindled interest in application-oriented study.

The advantage of using computers for analysis and testing became evident after crediting the courses 'Computer Aided Design' and 'Computational Methods in Design and Manufacturing'. On these lines, I am working under Prof. R Krishna Kumar on the "Non Linear Finite Element Analysis of the Human Heart" as part of my major thesis for the senior year. I am currently involved in modeling the heart and the Finite Element Analysis will follow. Through the analysis we intend to predict the 3-dimensional stress distribution on the heart.

It is my belief that theoretical knowledge alone is insufficient. The various laboratory courses that I credited and workshops that I attended have given me excellent hands on experience. They have refined my ability to observe, correlate with theory and infer appropriately. Reports, presentations and teamwork have helped me develop my organizational, interpersonal and communication skills.

After a balanced undergraduate study, my interest in Mechanical Engineering has deepened and I have been motivated to pursue higher studies. This desire has further been strengthened after the summer project that I undertook at the end of my junior year at Ford India Limited, Chennai. I was involved in the study of Accelerated Durability Testing Procedures, PASCAR – the nature and the effect of various test tracks used for passenger car evaluation. I suggested improvements that would enable the closer replication of these procedures to suit the local conditions and environment. This project gave me an insight into the nature and difficulties involved in independent research.

The exposure to the wide range of subjects in IIT has given me ample opportunity to explore where my interests lie. After reflecting upon the projects I have done and the courses that have inspired me, the fields of Design and Manufacturing appears the best choice for continuing my graduate studies. I feel that these two are the basic requirements and the main interface for bringing out the concepts into application. The stress, as I realize, is on knowledge coupled with innovation.

The course 'Design of Machine Elements' laid the fundamentals required to begin a design. I had an introduction to the different conventional and non-conventional methods and their need in the industry in the course 'Manufacturing Technology'. 'Manufacturing Planning' highlighted the difficulties involved in translating a design into a functional product. 'Machine Tools and Metrology' acquainted me with the technology available for inspection. I strongly believe that the fields of Design and Manufacturing cannot be treated separately – the interaction between them was apparent during my experience in the industry and I want to learn more about this interplay.

Advances in computational technology have further broadened the scope of the fields. CAD/CAM have given them new dimensions and the applications today are apparently diverse – from simulating the stresses on the sheet metal of an aircraft to generating tool paths for a machine; from the modeling of a Micro Electro Mechanical Sensor to the planning of the assembly process in the industry. I am curious to learn more about CAD/CAM and their applications. Through my research work, I wish to contribute innovatively, to not only develop the existing range of applications but also to extend them to new areas.

I find the University of California, Berkeley, an excellent place for achieving my objectives. The state-of-the-art facilities, renowned faculty and the stimulating research work in the area of Mechanical Engineering offer a promising environment for budding research enthusiasts. The strong industrial collaboration that it enjoys opens up a plethora of opportunities. After browsing through the website, I find a lot of work in 'Industrial Focus Areas', on Integrated Manufacturing, applications of CAD and CAM, Design and Fabrication issues in MEMS. I am also keen on learning more about 'Virtual Reality' and its applications to Design and Manufacturing. Working in these areas will enable me to carry on focused research while keeping me up to date with the latest developments in technology. I am extremely eager about associating myself with such teams that strive to strengthen the engineering profession as a whole.

I am aware of the commitment and perseverance required to carry on research. My undergraduate studies have provided me with the requisite academic background. Motivation and aptitude keep me on the go and I am confident that these will enable me to meet the demands of graduate studies and the high standards of your University. I look forward to joining the University of California, Berkeley and as a graduate student, add to the productive nature of research whilst enriching my knowledge.

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