Published: 15th September 2017
Engineer's Day: From Bernoulli's theorem to maths in sambhar, meet the man who's saying 'Let's Make Engineering Simple' to Tamil Nadu
You've probably seen his videos. If you haven't, then you should check them out ASAP. They actually make Engineering sound interesting. Meet, Premanand Sethurajan, the man in the LMES videos
Let's Make Engineering Simple. Ironically, that is not a phrase that you hear too often in the two billion engineering colleges that are battling to fill their seats in Tamil Nadu. But almost every single engineering student and engineering graduate in Tamil Nadu who's on Facebook (unless they've been living under a rock) would have heard or seen this phrase. The man to blame for that is Premanand Sethurajan.
As I enter the LMES Academy in Pallavaram, there are study materials scattered all over the floor and a bunch of young engineering graduates packing them into boxes. Premanand, a man whom we have seen in several viral videos, guides them with practiced ease. He turns to us and tells us in all seriousness that Engineer's Day is something that has to be given the same importance as Mother's Day or a Father's Day. Why you may ask. He answers readily, "Because they are creators. When you go up to your terrace and look around, all you see are creations made by the engineers." Fact.
Dream chase: While working in the US for 6 years, Premanand Sethurajan would wait to go back home so that he could work on these 'Simple Engineering' videos
Reflecting on what made him do engineering in the first place, he says, "I was born in Thinaikulam, a village from Ramanathapuram. I had no clue what to do next after completing school, so I joined engineering just because a friend of mine applied for it and now I am here." The smirk comes automatically.
The Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE as most of us know it) graduate like every other engineering student joined an IT company and managed to continue working there for 2 years before his "hatred" for it pushed him to move abroad.
Take that: Premanand Sethurajan explains one of the toughest problems in a jiffy
He joined the Aviation and Aerospace Engineering industry and that is where the idea behind LMES was born. When his senior asked him to solve a problem with imaginary numbers he found himself clueless. "I was familiar with the concept, but I didn't know how to put it into practice," says Premanand before adding, "It is the same case with all engineering students these days. If you ask them to apply the concept at work they struggle."
Back to the Textbooks
And that's when he went back to the basics and understood how to do it, "After that incident, I started to do a study on the concepts of science and how to apply it to day-to-day life. Later, I thought I could spread the knowledge to others as well and that's when I hit on the idea of making these videos," he explains. "The first video I did was on Bernoulli's theorem which managed to rake in 20k views which mostly included my Facebook friends who started sharing it in their friends' groups," he said. Videos would not only make visual sense to young people, a simple and easy-to-understand style ensured that Engineering students from all walks of life were drawn to watching it.
I started to do a study on the concepts of science and how to apply it to day-to-day life. Later, I thought I could spread the knowledge to others as well and that's when I hit on the idea of making these videos
Premanand Sethurajan, Founder, LMES Academy
While working in the US for 6 years, he would wait to go back home so that he could work on these 'Simple Engineering' videos. It became so much of an obsession for him that, later, he came back to India and started to do it full-time. He kickstarted 'Let's Make Engineering Simple' in 2014. Though initially, he was doing videos on core concepts of engineering, It was during the Chennai floods that he started to do videos on society-related concepts that are also useful to common man. From there, he ventured into doing videos on politics and social issues with his videos on 'Plastic rice' and 'Thermocol' going viral on the internet.
Prem's Big Bang Theory
Not just wanting to go through life just being an internet video uploader, he's taking the fight to make Engineering simple into classrooms now. Working on the logic that basics have to be taught at the school level, he has developed something called the 'Big Bang kit' which is a practical DIY starter kit for kids to explore science concepts. "I am happy that I am able to share my knowledge by educating school kids, especially the ones from villages," says Premanand before adding, "We go to schools and ask them to spend 3 hours of learning every week. We have seen school children enjoy learning through this method," he added.
Like Rancho from 3 Idiots, this man has an explanation for everything. Scientifically!