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IIT Madras held its first ?Mixed Reality? Convocation on Sunday, 2,346 degrees awarded

For the first time in its history, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) conducted its Convocation using a ‘Mixed Reality’ mode. The event was held completely online combining the real and virtual world and showcasing how they can interact. A total of 2,346 degrees were awarded during the 57th Convocation held on October 25.

Prof David J Gross, Nobel Laureate and Chancellor’s Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of California, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Dr Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras and Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra, presided over the Convocation.

Addressing the graduands from Santa Barbara, US, David J Gross said, “Many of you are completing your education today and are now wondering what the next few years will bring. One thing I am sure of is that no one can give you an answer. The world is undergoing rapid change and as the event of the last few months show, no one can predict what will happen next week, much less beyond that. The same is true of science and one’s career in science.”

He added, “Life is not made up of years but of moments. As we look back on our life, what we remember is a collection of moments. None of us remembers our beginning and none of us will remember our end. This moment is both a beginning and an ending for you. For many of you, it is the end of college tuition and the beginning of repayment of student loans. For many of you, it is the end of the process in which you absorbed vast knowledge and the beginning of the process when you begin to apply that knowledge or pass it along to the next generation. For many of you, it is the end of formal education and the beginning of the so-called ‘real-life’.”

“For many of you, it is the end of the period in life where you received from your parents and society and the beginning of the period where you give back to society. And there is much that you can give back, for you are a privileged lot. Privileged to be citizens of a rapidly-growing country with a rich and glorious history that is now moving on to take its rightful place in the world. You are fortunate to be free of disease, hunger and war that plagued much of humanity most of the time. You are privileged to have attended a great institution of learning and to have acquired much knowledge,” he said.

Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics along with H David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. He has been a central figure in particle physics and string theory. His discovery, with his student Frank Wilczek, of asymptotic freedom—the primary feature of non-Abelian gauge theories—led Gross and Wilczek to the formulation of Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force.

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, awarded degrees to the graduating students virtually. A total of 2,346 degrees were awarded this year. This includes the highest number of PhDs awarded in an academic year, 353 (which includes PhDs, Joint Degree Ph.Ds, and Dual Degree Ph.Ds), M.S – 103, M.Tech. – 431, Web-based M.Tech – 14, PGDMRTM – 19, M.Sc – 122, Joint Degree MBA – 3, MBA – 48, EMBA – 37, MA – 33, Dual Degree – 680, B.Tech – 406. Convocation 2020 also included, for the first time, 59 Inter-disciplinary Dual-Degree students who upgraded from the UG programme to obtain Masters’ degrees in Data Science, Computational Engineering, Robotics, Nanotechnology and Energy Systems, and 51 from the industry who have earned their Masters’ degrees through our web-enabled executive programmes in Engineering specialisations and Business Administration.