The Story of 'Citizens of Science'

As one of our member narrates

There comes a time in life where you start questioning the path you are traveling. Be it after your Pre-university, after Graduation, after your master’s, or after your first job. You start questioning your education, your values, your passion, your career stream. More often, this is late because of how the education system has been designed and also socio-cultural pressures that induce a wrong value of what success, money, fame is all about and what terms dictate your life.

Our founder, Dushyanth Edadasula, though always loved Physics, due to lack of awareness, took engineering. One year after he graduated due to various circumstances he thought of switching to Physics, there was little information about that available anywhere, but due to misguidance and lack of awareness of opportunities, he ended up spending one year preparing for the wrong exams. Although he applied to JAM, he didn’t realise that he was eligible for admission until one month before the exam. As a result, he couldn’t get a good enough rank for making it to IITs. Albeit, the rank was good enough to enter any NIT of choice, due to his engineering background, he was ineligible for admission in any of the NITs despite the rank. So, 2 years after graduation he got no where and now have to spend one more year preparing for the exams (actually, he didn’t have to do that as he later got into an institute the same year).  

Frustrated, he decided to write out the information he has gained and keep people like him from wasting their valuable time. After going through the websites of almost every other University, College & Research Institute in the country, he started a blog Physics after Engineering, for all those Married to Engineering, Romancing Physics.  It is to make people aware of the channels in which an engineer can become a physicist.

There were people joining daily, discussion happening here and there but he had no clue what potential the Physics after Engineering(PAE from here on) community holds. The actual realisation of the potential happened a year after it has started, it was in March, 2019 the JAM Physics results were declared. An astounding nuber of 17 engineers from the Community made it to IITs. This was truly a triumphant moment for us.

Little did anyone know then that this small initiative would grow into this huge self-help community. Today, the blog gets 10,000+ views monthly, there are more than 1500 Physics loving engineers in our WhatsApp and Telegram groups, and the strength is growing exponentially. Groups are flooding and WhatsApp isn’t enough. 

The community contributes to the blog by writing blog posts on their journey, exam preparation strategies, and interview experiences, internship opportunities, exam dates and criteria, and eligibility criteria of institutes, virtually a gold mine of information for a Physics student. These posts continue to inspire the generations to come and encourage those who want to switch streams.

After the results, those that topped the exams started writing content for the aspirants which served as an inspiration & guiding light for the next-gen PAE members. In the year 2020, 8 out of the top 25 in JAM Physics are from PAE community and in the JEST, hold your breath, 4 out of the top 5 rankers, (Yeah you read that right!) are engineers from our community. (Details here

Slowly, separate groups for each objective were established, for ex: A group for sharing Pop-Sci knowledge, a group of students solving numerics, a group for advisories, etc. Recently, there has been an extension to separate branches like Quantum Computing and Astrophysics where webinars and quizzes are conducted by members to engage and educate & guide the other members. We have our own Philosophy club, Music Club and Chess club too. Help is always provided in this community when asked, whether it’s about abroad studies or mind-boggling theories to debate on, or internships/projects, which colleges to pick for which field, etc. You name it.

Despite such stupendous performance in entrance exams, IITs had a bar for the eligibility criteria. A student had to have a minimum of 4 subjects physics in their undergraduate to qualify for the masters despite a good rank in JAM examination. PAE members started persistently mailing and calls to various professors at the IITs which we think led to a revolutionary change in IITs Rule Book. On 1st Sep 2020, all the engineers were patently made eligible for the MSc physics course in IITs. KUDOS to the community! (Detailed story here. Special thanks to Aadesh and Niket Shah for making the initiative happen)

PAE has branched into MAE(Mathematics), which and has got a great response and we have 250+ members already and some of them made it to IITs, TIFR, ISI, etc… It’s basically heading the same direction as PAE, and it is only imminent that it’ll be becoming a rich source of information like PAE. With this success, it occurred to us that we can do the same with all kinds of fields like chemistry, biology, economics, or even less know fields in humanities & arts even. This initiative “Citizens of Science” is for actuating the same. We are planning on branching to all kinds of streams and replicate the PAE model. CoS is not just a community loving physics or mathematics, it’s a platform with a lovely community that gives courage and help to those people who are in search of it.

We are hoping to help many more people pursue their passion in the fields of their choice. 

Excerpt by 

Pavithra Sridhar,

A long-time member of COS