INDIA. Pune, Maharashtra. Dr. Shirish Khedikar has created a new world record by filing ten patents for his inventions in a single day, on 30 March. He is a scientist in the Indian Meteorological Department in Pune.
The seeds to invent are planted
He was born in a small village of the Bhandara district of Maharashtra to a middle-class agrarian family. Right from an early age, Khedikar was deeply influenced by Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. He always dreamt of doing some great inventions. He used to surprise everybody with his uncanny knack of converting basic scientific principles into working models, and in grade 7, he built a model for wind measurement. With a simple scale and firecrackers, he even measured the speed of a bullet. For this, he applied the conservation of momentum principle and Newton’s third law of motion. He was awarded first prize in science exhibition for this in junior college.
Khedikar developed an innovative mindset, applied scientific principles, and realized the importance of observation in science. The desire to invent was planted in his mind. In an interview with Transcontinental Times he said, “During those days, I was more concerned about understanding science rather than memorizing it.”
Choosing an unpopular major
He passed intermediate in first class but failed to secure sufficient marks in his Pre-Medical Test (PMT). Undeterred, he took admission for BS at Nagpur University, majoring in Agricultural Meteorology. His professors were not happy with his interests.
He said, ”Professors always told me that this subject has no scope and no job prospect, but I was adamant thanks to my parents who supported me.” After completing graduation, he opted for the MS in the same subject. During his study, he got the idea for a Solar Position Recording Device.
His academic excellence landed him a job as Research Associate at the Department of Agronomy with Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola, Maharashtra.
String of inventions begins
He was not at all satisfied with a job alone. He was always aiming for his passion. That dissatisfaction forced him to pursue doctoral studies at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
During his education at Coimbatore, he fully developed the first of his many inventions. He developed the Solar Azimuth and Altitude Recorder and Dual Axis Tracker (SUNSAAR-DAT) for measuring and recording the sun’s orientation in the sky, for which he recived his first patent. Khedikar got his second patent for measuring wind elevation angle: the Wind Elevation Angle Recorder (WINDEAR).
After completing his PhD, he also qualified for the Union Public Service Commission Exam and was selected to the post of Meteorologist/Scientist. His third patent was an improved portable electronic device: foldable, slideable, detachable, it is one of the lightest tablet cum laptops ever assembled.
At the same time, he was publishing many research papers and has become a regular special guest on Doordarshan DD Kisan and DD Sahyadri TV channels in India.
Ten patents filed in a single day
On 1 March, he read about an Indian who made the world record by filing five patents in a single day. He immediately decided to break this record and wanted to set a record by filing ten patents in a single day. He decided to do it in one month and set a deadline of 31 March. Without taking any leave from the office, he worked tirelessly and rigorously to meet the deadline.
The COVID-19 lockdown made the challenge even tougher for him. But Khedikar was relentless. He submitted ten patents in the patent office on 30 March, breaking the current world record. He got recognition from the Indian Book of Records and appreciation from all corners of the scientific community. Some of his inventions are for home use like a micro climate-controlled mosquito net. Some are for industrial use like the “fire extinguishing arrow and bow” and the “automatic expandable and sinkable road divider.”
His efforts and intellect are the cornerstones of his world record. He said, “I feel a lot of satisfaction and pride at being the Indian who set the world record. One day I want to even break my own record.”