Interview: How to stay Cognitively Young with Kalyan Raman
Kalyan Raman is a professor at Northwestern University with three academic appointments. His primary is as a professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications and his secondary is as a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also an Affiliated Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. In addition to that, he obtained two PhDs 26 years apart from each other.
Below is a summary of our interview:
“We cannot be taught wisdom. We must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
Kalyan grew up with two wonderful parents who pushed him to be the best he could be at school without putting pressure if he didn’t live up to their standards. That created value in education for Kalyan. When he was in school, Kalyan realized that he’s not good at memorization of descriptive material, but math came easy. Any science that required deductive reasoning and logical thinking appealed to him.
He majored in Statistics and minored in mathematics Then he started a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics at Purdue University. After switching to Management Science, he completed his Ph.D. in 1985. His first position was at Auburn University in Alabama, followed by a brief stint at AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, and he moved down to the University of Florida, then to the University of Michigan, and then he moved to England. In 2008, he accepted his current position at Northwestern University.
While he was living in Michigan, Kalyan began his second Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and focused on Neuroscience. While in England, through his wife, Lisa who was a neuroscience nurse, he met the University of Cambridge Neuroscience group. After returning to the United States in 2008, he finished his Electrical Engineering Ph.D. in 2011. For Kalyan, life is a process of continued learning.
A Low Point
He didn’t recall any event that overwhelmed him. His dad’s death was a personal tragedy in his life. It profoundly affected him, but it’s not unique to his experience. However, when he went up for tenure, he wondered how his peers would view his research.
When Kalyan began his second PhD in “EE” (Electrical Engineering), a field that had always fascinated him, he focused his dissertation on neuroscience. He saw an opportunity to make contributions to neuroscience since neurological problems share common features with electrical engineering problems. One of the key motivators for Kalyan was to increase research and funding for rare diseases. Kalyan’s Aha moment was the realization that his expertise in math would enable him to successfully obtain a Ph.D. in EE, because it is the most mathematical of all the engineering disciplines
Kalyan’s work now
His current work involves studying cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics in the brain intracranial pressure (ICP) and shunts . There could be a number of complications with ICP when there are disorders in CSF drainage.
His work at the Medill IMC department is focused on resource allocation, specifically on the determination of the optimal communications budget and its optimal allocation across multiple media. One of his findings is that each medium not only has its own main effect, but also enjoys synergies arising from its interaction with other media. Taking such synergies into account when determining the optimal budget and allocation dramatically improves profitability.
Book Kalyan recommends:
The Affluent Society[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0395925002″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41pnIg%2BnBXL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”purposerockst-20″ width=”106″]
Discusses the toxic effects of consumption on environment.
Curiosity and reading widely.
He singles out Lisa’s friend, Rosemary, who introduced him to the neuroscience field. And Lisa, who is his wife, is the most important person and influencer in his life.
Please check out her organization Klippel-Feil Syndrome Alliance
Wikipedia is always a great resource, but one he likes a lot is www.infoplease.com. It’s a free resource. So, that’s great!
What’s Your Purpose?
We are here for others. Kalyan finds meaning in his life by helping others. Humanity is one large family.
Where to follow Kalyan
Find him on his Profile for Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Live a life of creativity. Creative people live happily.
One of his core beliefs is the importance of “pursuing your passion without expecting rewards.”