Joyeeta Das







By Joyeeta Das

IS comfort=happiness ?

We sit in an air-conditioned cubicle on a plush retractable chair in the middle of the sky enjoying choice entertainment on TV- yet all we think about is the “inadequate” leg space. We speak into our palms and a person on the other side of the pacific hears and smiles and yet all that matters is that SMSes take time to be written. Do we take technology too much for granted?
Do we care how many scientists researched on polymers across the world and how many thesis were submitted before we really got to a nice stable wing surface that sits on the airplane you sit in to visit your Mum every Christmas. Do we care about the number of lab hours spent in simply figuring out a noise cancellation method before the first cellular handset was manufactured.
SBS sought to rectify this. Off we went on a trip to Harwell and visited their high precision instrument division, high-energy labs, space applications catapult and the European Space Agency. The trip was sponsored by the Oxford University Knowledge Transfer division and was organised by self. Being extremely passionate about science and high-tech all my life- it bothered me to see how much people ignore it and think the accessory functions they have developed around science can sometimes be more important than the very thing that is the basis of civilisation.


So, I organised this trip and the idea was to be aware of how much research and effort goes into making a simple laser guided device or how many people test a material for thousand of hours before it is used to cover an inch of a satellite. We were accompanied by University knowledge transfer officer Simon. We also opened up potential sectors where students may look at upcoming careers.
Beginning with a welcome coffee- our alum Conor o’Sullivan ushered us into the presentation hall where we engaged with different parts of space business sectors and found out how Space is becoming increasingly commercialised. After spending some time engaging with the scientists and business officers – we watched videos and presentations on space technologies, visited the Laser labs and high precision engineering labs and had lunch at the Space Application Catapult. We also heard from some upcoming start-ups (including mine) who work in the Space sector technologies. An afternoon well spent!
On our 1 hr long bus journey to Oxford- a recurrent thought in my mind was- are we the most comfortable generation of all times, probably yes. Are we the happiest generation of all times, probably No. So if comfort is not the key to happiness- what is? IMG_2507

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