The researchers, engineers, and technologists at GRC who help see, move, and create the future come from varying backgrounds with varying experiences. While no two paths are the same, there is one common thread – a love for science. Why Science? explores where our employees’ paths began – when and how their love for science was born. For some it may have been a favorite teacher or a gifted science kit; for others science may run in the family. The stories told will be fun, insightful, and may even inspire the next generation of scientists!
This Why Science? features Vijayalakshmi SR, a lead engineer and metallurgist who works on GE Research’s Non-Destructive Evaluation team, which is part of our Materials organization. She’s based at the John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) in Bengaluru and specializes in microstructure characterization to explore failure analysis and the structure-property correlation of various materials. Vijayalakshmi’s work spans material systems that are used in a range of applications: Wind turbine components, aeroderivatives, additive manufacturing, superalloys, tribological analysis, locomotive engine components, and failure analysis.
Hey Vijayalakshmi… Why Science?“
I grew up in a family with little or no science background with two siblings. I was a curious child and student who always asked questions like ‘why?’ ‘how?’ and ‘why not?’ to learn and understand. As a child, I wanted to be a doctor who can diagnose and cure everyone. I used to even role play as a doctor. I think this is where my science dream started. During school days, chemistry and the periodic table fascinated me. I thought we could change a lot in the world if we play around with these elements or even discover new elements. I used to love chemistry lab sessions."
Vijayalakshmi (in pink) with Larry Culp and others at the JFWTC. Picture taken pre-COVID.
"My parents encouraged me to take a materials science major and I was excited to chase my dream and do things that fascinated me. This is where I got introduced to the world of microstructures. My master’s course [at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru] gave me exposure to another exciting world of materials in relation to mechanical systems. Throughout my courses, my teachers never answered my questions directly. Instead, they helped me identify key questions which I could use to get the real answers myself.
In my college and in my early career I spent time in libraries looking for answers to my curious silly questions. Loved this quest in finding answers and solutions to my multiple questions; researching material systems was where I wanted to be and where I was meant to be. I am here living my dream and loving every moment of this exciting journey of materials and mechanical systems.”