Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes!

As I turn a year older, I am including a short update from the past year and invite you to share the latest news from your life too. If you did not wish me on my birthday, never mind! I am still including you to preserve our relationship.

Last year, I started my Ph.D. in Earth System Science at Stanford University with a focus on developing non-invasive methods to monitor forest health. I am doing this from the ground up by shooting electromagnetic waves at trees and analysing their reflections for clues on their hydraulic health - essentially detecting how thirsty they are. If I am successful, I will scale up the approach towards monitoring of forests globally so that we have a truer representation of the planet’s health and better measurements of our impact on it. This seems increasingly necessary with human-caused climate change.

Although, when I attend large scientific conferences, I can’t help but think how tiny my contribution is in the overall realm of science. If the entire human knowledge amounts to the size of the Earth, I feel that my project will create a knee-high mound of new knowledge. So if you are ever dejected with the insufficient impact of your work, talk to me!

As a wish for my birthday, I ask us to share our time, knowledge, possessions or wealth with the needy. Examples of these may be taking care of our parents, volunteering with nonprofits, donating blood, and contributing money to charitable organizations, respectively.These are just examples and I am sure you would have much better ideas. Over the past few years, I am becoming increasingly aware of how my growth has been shaped by good fortune. Many around the world are not so lucky though. Let’s change that. Because a world where everyone is not happy leaves room for kindness. And a world where kindness is scarce is not beautiful. We have the power to make it beautiful.

Thank you again for your wishes, they truly make me happy.

Krishna Rao