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Patriot Nasa boy turns hero

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Patriot Nasa boy turns hero


Thiruvananthapuram, Oct. 6:
A young Nasa researcher from Kerala whose patriotic stand had prompted the US space agency to relax a citizenship rule was surprised to find himself the toast of New Delhi during a visit last month.

Arun P.V. even received an invite to the Prime Minister’s home after Narendra Modi learnt how the 26-year-old from Kottayam had declined to give up his Indian citizenship when Nasa offered him a job in January last year.

Arun’s Nasa assignment required him to accept American citizenship at a later date. Since that would have meant losing his Indian nationality, Arun declined.

True to its professionalism, Nasa realised his worth, acknowledged his concerns and took him on board without pressing the citizenship clause. It could not be confirmed whether Nasa had made a similar concession for anyone else before.

A Kerala daily had at the time reported the matter without the news creating much excitement. But things got moving when Arun arrived in Delhi last month as part of a US team of scientists to discuss cooperation in the use of space technology for the benefit of ordinary citizens.

A senior colleague in the delegation — which included scientists from Nasa, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the United Nations Development Programme — mentioned the story to home minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting. When Modi heard it from Rajnath, he invited Arun to a private meeting.

Officials said the meeting, held in the first week of September, lasted nearly 30 minutes, the discussions ranging from recent developments in science and technology to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.

Modi is learnt to have told Arun that the doors of the country’s space research establishments would always be open for him.

Sources in Arun’s family told The Telegraph that the young man had been thrilled at the Prime Minister meeting him personally.

Although a Nasa employee, Arun is now doing a research project on artificial intelligence at MIT.​
He graduated in mechanical engineering in Kottayam before doing his MTech at the National Institute of Technology in Bhopal.

His work on artificial intelligence at the Bhopal institute drew attention and eventually earned him his Nasa job.

Patriot Nasa boy turns hero

India: 'Nasa scientist' exposed as fraudster
A man who became famous in India after claiming to be a Nasa scientist has admitted he made the whole thing up, it's been reported.

Arun P. Vijayakumar, 27, hit the headlines after saying he'd been selected as a research scientist for the US space agency, even telling the media that Nasa relaxed its citizenship requirements "as it was so impressed with his knowledge and patriotism", the Deccan Chronicle reports. His Nasa work would involve exploring "extraterrestrial elements with the use of remote sensing", he told The Hindu website in an interview last month. He also claimed to be studying for a PhD at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

But now Mr Vijayakumar, from Kerala in south-west India, admits none of it was true, including claims that he had met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was busted by a Facebook group known as the Netizen Police, which investigates suspected online fraud in conjunction with the police, Manorama Online reports. "Police officers said that the intention of Arun was only to gain fame and that the details were being released now in order to ensure that he does not come out with similar claims in future," the website says.
BBC News - India: 'Nasa scientist' exposed as fraudster

I know people on this site hate reporters and news media, but I guess they report what they find and sometimes they are bought and sometimes they are taken.
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