Not For Sale! Trilogy Book 2
by Raj Agrawal
Genre: Suspense Thriller
In a world plagued by climate change, where the future of our planet hangs by a thread, “Reversal!” takes you on an electrifying journey into the heart of a groundbreaking scientific innovation that could save humanity. Enter the world of carbon dioxide recapture and processing systems (CRAPS) through the eyes of Dr. Ravi Kumar, a brilliant scientist as he uncovers the potential to reverse the damage done to our environment while fighting deadly attacks from powerful foes…
Ithaca, New York – Climate lab at the Materials and Climate Research Institute – Present time, Tuesday, October 14.
“Dr. Kumar, Dr. Makram is dead.”
It was about 15 minutes past eight on this fall evening. Dr. Ravi Kumar, the Director of the Materials and Climate Research Institute, located on the outskirts of Ithaca, New York – had just finished dinner. He was helping Dr. Caitlyn Mariko, his AI expert wife and a fellow lead scientist at the institute, clear the dishes and clean the kitchen when the quiet of the evening was jarred by the loud ringing of his home phone in his study.
He let it ring for a while, assuming it was another spam call that would eventually go away. But the caller was persistent, and the phone kept ringing. Dr. Kumar could not ignore it anymore and walked up to his study to see who was calling. He answered when he saw the institute’s number on the caller ID. It was Tom Delaney, the second shift inside guard who had just come in to start his shift.
“No!!” he screamed. “That cannot be. He was alive when I left the office at 6:00. What was Bill doing? And what about the outside guard?” Ravi stammered into the phone, not knowing how to react and asking the first two questions that came to his mind. Bill Maher was the day shift guard whom Tom was replacing.
“He is missing. I cannot find him. And I have not seen the outside guard. He must have been on his way in when he heard the alarms go off,” Tom replied.
“I am on my way. Did you call Dr. Shapiro and Captain Thapa?” Ravi asked.
“Yes, I did. Captain Thapa is on his way and Dr. Shapiro will try and get into town as soon as he can,” he replied.
“Ravi, what is going on?” Caitlyn asked as she walked into the study upon hearing Ravi’s shrill scream.
“It is Omar. He is dead,” Ravi replied, covering the mouthpiece and trying to sound normal but failing badly. “I am going to the institute. Captain Thapa is also on his way. I will call you and fill you in.”
“And Dr. Kumar, the climate lab has been completely ransacked and CRAPS is missing,” Tom added before Ravi hung up and rushed to the institute, a ten-minute drive, still in his pajamas….
Ithaca, New York – Five years prior to the attack on the climate lab
“Dad, have you seen the latest news on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases? Looks like in spite of your new invention for airplane engines and all the other initiatives from people all over the world, they are still going up.” It was Sita, the older of Dr. Ravi Kumar and Dr. Caitlyn Mariko’s identical twin daughters.
It was a beautiful spring day in Ithaca, New York. The three Kumar daughters, Lilly, Sita, and Reiko, and their son-in-law, Jesse, had come back home for the long Memorial Day weekend. Ravi and Jesse were trying to get the grill going while the girls and their mother were getting the Beyond Meat burgers, corn on the cob just harvested from the local farm, and a cornucopia of other fresh vegetables as well as fish ready for a lazy, and relaxing holiday afternoon for their backyard cookout.
It had been a long, hard winter and it was time to shed the heavy winter clothing and get out to enjoy the fresh cool breeze blowing from Lake Cayuga, one of the five Finger Lakes in upstate New York, about four hours’ drive from the Big Apple.
It had now been almost eight years since MRI–297, the new material invention that Sita was talking about, had become a reality and was now in just about all modern commercial airliners currently flying, significantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gases they produced. Sita had brought back memories from that harrowing summer when Ravi and Caitlyn were on a worldwide flight for their lives from two of the most powerful CEOs of American industry and the Chinese government — all because they had refused to sign an exclusive licensing contract with either the Americans or the Chinese. They were determined to make their new invention available to all industries and countries which were legally allowed to have that new material and join them in their fight to do something about the unabated growth of that insidious gas. In the end, after escaping many close calls on their lives, they did manage to come out alive and license their new revolutionary material for use throughout the aviation industry. Their story had become a much-talked-about saga of the time and was well publicized in the bestselling book – Not For Sale!
“Yes, I have, and like you, I am quite concerned and have been wondering what we can do about it,” Ravi answered in a subdued voice, still lost in the memories of eight years ago but slowly making his way back to the present.
“It is interesting we are talking about it. I just saw an article on Carbon Dioxide recapture and the promise it holds to reverse or at least slow down the damage caused by it to our planet and the climate,” Reiko, Sita’s five-minute younger identical twin sister chimed in.
“I also read something about it but did not follow up. It sounded too complicated and too futuristic,” Lilly Kumar, the eldest of the Kumar daughters, added.
“Actually, it is not. It does happen to be one of my areas of research, and if you all are interested, I can give you a quick primer on it.” Dr. Jesse Shapiro, Lilly’s husband, was a NASA scientist.
“That will be great, as long as you don’t go too deep and keep it at a level that mere mortals like us can understand,” Sita piped in teasingly.
“I will remember that and if I do begin to wade into waters any deeper than your ankle, just holler – ‘Deep’ and I will retract,” Jesse answered, smiling with a wink.
Dr. Kumar now had the burgers and the freshly husked corn on the grill. The corn kernels had begun popping and would be ready for that first mouthwatering bite in less than five minutes. The cooler beside the picnic table held cold Corona beer, everyone’s favorite brew. Caitlyn opened a bottle for Ravi and invited the others to help themselves as they settled down, straddling the backyard wooden picnic bench – Jesse, Lilly, and Caitlyn on one side and Sita and Reiko on the other, while Ravi remained standing tending the grill with one hand and that cold beer in his free hand.
“So, as you know, there is a mountain of carbon dioxide – CO2 for short, that has been accumulating in our atmosphere ever since we began burning fossil fuels to heat our homes and produce electricity, and of course the wide-spread use of cars, trucks, and more recently, airplanes. And as Sita said, despite all the measures society has taken over the last several decades to reduce the amount of new carbon dioxide we produce, we have not gotten ahead of the curve and are still adding to that mountain, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. The increase in the planet’s average temperature has, as a result, been steadily increasing, causing the change in climate we are experiencing with the cycle of drought, flood, and heat becoming more severe each passing year.” Jesse began his introduction to the subject.
“Dr. Shapiro, we know all that. Can you get to the point and talk about carbon dioxide recapture?” Sita asked playfully.
“All right then, carbon dioxide recapture, as the name implies, is literally sucking that insidious gas out of the air around us. Trees and forests do that quite effectively, but we are producing more of it than they can process — and to make matters worse, we have been cutting down a vast expanse of forests, reducing nature’s capacity to capture and convert it into something useful such as oxygen. So, what is the big deal? Why can’t we just use some huge, big vacuum cleaners and get it out of the air? Surely, if we can go to the moon, we should be able to do that?” Jesse asked, waving his arms and waiting to see the reaction of his audience before answering his own rhetorical questions.
“Yes, why can’t we? I have never understood if there is such a big accumulation of this gas, why with all of the technology we have, are we not able to simply suck it down just like we would if it were a mountain of sand, dirt, or snow?” Reiko asked, raising her eyebrows.
“Well, that is because the mountain of carbon dioxide is not really a mountain sitting in a few places in the sky like Mount Everest or the Rockies. Rather, it is well mixed in with the rest of the air, which as you know, is basically nitrogen and oxygen. In fact, even with the increase that has been going on for years, CO2 is still only a minute part of our air, roughly 400 parts per million. While that is double the amount it was a couple of hundred years ago, it is still quite small, though increasingly harmful all the same, as it traps more of the heat within our atmosphere, raising the planetary temperature,” Jesse said, taking a swig of his cool Corona beer.
“The first challenge after we have sucked that well-mixed, CO2-laden air into a device is to be able to separate it effectively and efficiently. And then we have to worry about what to do with it. And that is when the fun starts, as there are many ways to deal with the captured CO2 – each with its associated problems,” Jesse continued, taking another deep swig of his slowly warming beer.
The silence following the pause Jesse had taken to gulp his beer was suddenly broken by the announcement from Dr. Kumar,
“Anyone up for burgers? I have a few ready.”
They all got up and stood in line as Ravi carefully placed a burger on each of their plates and directed them to the table with condiments and a large bowl of Spicy Chickpea Salad – Ravi’s and the girls’ favorite dish, ginned up by Caitlyn for the occasion.
“The basic process for separating carbon dioxide from the air is relatively simple and has been known for quite some time. The air sucked in from the atmosphere is brought in contact with an alkaline liquid solution that traps the carbon dioxide and through heating and some familiar chemical reactions separates it from the rest of the air which is then exhausted back into the atmosphere. The chemical reaction also produces water as one of the byproducts which can then be used for other purposes such as converting that captured, carbon-rich CO2 into fuel,” Jesse said as he combed his fingers through his dirty blond hair fluttering in the gentle breeze from the lake.
“What type of fuel?” asked Lilly, who had kept mostly quiet so far, though fascinated by Jesse’s ability to talk about a complex scientific subject in terms that they all could understand.
“It could be any carbon-based fuel such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or jet engine fuel. It could also be used to produce other petroleum-based products such as heating oil, coal tar, polyester, plastics, or anything else for which we currently use fossil fuel extracted from the earth. Basically, we would be replacing the vanishing supply of the precious fossil fuel with the manmade fuel produced from the abundantly available carbon dioxide in our air and cleaning it up in the process,” Jesse answered passionately. This was a subject near and dear to his heart, and he was excited to talk about it.
“The process to convert the carbon dioxide captured from the ambient air into fuel is also well understood. It starts with breaking apart the very stable CO2 molecule to provide one of the ingredients for making the synthetic fuel – carbon monoxide or CO. The other key element is hydrogen, and that is generated by splitting the water molecule or H2O, which if you recall was a byproduct of capturing carbon dioxide from the air. The CO and hydrogen are then chemically reacted in a well-known process known as Fischer-Tropsch to synthesize the manufactured hydrocarbon fuel that replicates the natural fossil fuel that we extract from the earth,” Jesse continued, skipping many of the details lest the twins scream “Deep.”
“If all this is well understood, then why we are not using it to take care of that mountain?” asked Sita with furrowed eyebrows. The twins were in the habit of using their delicately sculpted eyebrows as an integral part of their expressive personalities.
“Well, because there are still many technical and engineering challenges that need to be solved to make the science a reality. But that has not stopped some futuristic individuals from building small prototype plants to demonstrate the feasibility of the basic science. They are not very economical right now and use a lot of energy – more than they produce, to be of much practical use. They also have exceptionally large footprints, occupying almost half a football field just to remove a few tons of carbon dioxide – a drop in the bucket,” Jesse answered, trying to sound optimistic but injecting a sense of objectivity and reality.
“So, what do you think is required to make it a practical solution for getting the greenhouse gases back in the box?” asked Reiko.
“We will need to make advances in all areas of the underlying technologies, but without going into details that you may find boring, it basically boils down to reducing the energy required for the process and to reducing the footprint of the plant,” Jesse replied.
“I understand the need to reduce energy, but why the footprint?” It was Caitlyn, who had been intently listening to Jesse and nodding her head in agreement and understanding.
“Because the large footprint limits the number of such plants that can realistically be built and operated around the world. Carbon dioxide is everywhere and therefore needs to be removed from everywhere, not just locally by a few plants. Distributing the carbon dioxide processing plants widely would be the only way to make a meaningful difference in that mountain,” Jesse replied.
“Based on what I have seen so far, I do not see how we can get it down from its current size of roughly half of a football field to something that is considerably smaller – perhaps no bigger than the size of a suitcase,” he continued.
“It is interesting you say that Jesse. I remember when I first started in the business, we used to work on something that you kids may not have even heard of – an IBM mainframe computer. It had a large footprint, perhaps as big as a full-size SUV and it used to consume gobs of power to run it and to keep it cool from all the heat its internal electronic gadgetry used to generate. And for all that size and power, it had the computing capacity of less than what is in your laptop computer or even in your cell phone.” Ravi had taken a breather from his cooking duties and joined the conversation.
“I would, therefore, not put it past human ingenuity to rise to the challenge, whatever that may be,” Ravi added.
“Assuming there were breakthroughs, and we could get the whole plant packaged in a suitcase, how exactly did you think it would be used?” Lilly asked.
“Well, I don’t know. Since I did not think it was an achievable goal, I really have not given much thought to it,” Jesse replied.
“What if every car and truck around the world was equipped with this device? We would then have millions of small-scale plants cleaning up the air and at the same time producing fuel for their own consumption.” Sita said thoughtfully, making her contribution to the discussion.
“Yes, and even though we would still be producing carbon dioxide by burning the hydrocarbon fuel that we would have synthesized, it would be mostly neutralized or could even be negative relative to the amount we took out. It would also mean that no new crude oil needs to be taken out of the ground. A win-win proposition,” Reiko added excitedly, backing up her twin sister as the twins often did – feeding off each other ideas.
“You know, although it appears to be pie in the sky right now, I am beginning to get a chill in my bones thinking of the possibilities — what such a device could do for our planet. Jesse, it is worth pursuing further. Let us talk and maybe get a small exploratory project started. I will bring it up with my board at the institute, but I do not foresee any problem in getting their support. The Environmental Defense Fund has been growing with the royalties coming from the MRI-297 super alloy and we have been looking for exactly such a project to deploy some of that money,” Dr. Kumar said.
“And, although not absolutely necessary, it would be great if rather than calling it a device, we could come up with a suitable name for it. Any ideas?” he added.
“How about CRAP?” said Reiko. She was good at coming up with eye-catching unconventional names. Her petit, one hundred fifteen pound, five feet two inches frame packed with boundless energy almost bouncing with excitement at the prospect of a device that could actually do something about the spiraling growth of the harmful gas and the ravages it was causing to the climate.
“Really?” Jesse said with a hint of a snicker in his voice.
“Yes, Dr. Shapiro. CRAP for Carbon Dioxide Recapture And Processing,” Reiko replied, not quite appreciating the snicker in Jesse’s voice.
“It sure is catchy and does capture the essence of what this gizmo is supposed to do. I can buy that,” Jesse said, trying to smooth Reiko’s ruffled feathers.
“Some may find it too shocking and distractive. I suggest we think of something less offensive,” said Lilly. Her calm demeanor reflected her serious nature – a contrast to her more ebullient twin sisters.
“What if we added S to it and called it CRAPS – for Carbon Dioxide Recapture And Processing System. Will that make it less offensive but still memorable and somewhat shocking?” Reiko said, striking a compromise. The twins had a lot of respect for their older sibling and generally deferred to her comments and suggestions.
“That would be better. I can go with that,” Lilly agreed with a nod from the others.
“CRAPS, it is,” Ravi said as he went back to tending the corn on the cob and their popping kernels.
Not For Sale!
Not For Sale! Trilogy Book 1
Aviation engineer Dr. Ravi Kumar and his AI expert wife, Dr. Caitlyn Mariko are on a world-wide run for their lives from two of Americas most powerful chief executives and a rogue nation. And all this for refusing to sell their aero-engine invention that will revolutionize the aircraft industry and help save the planet from the ravages of climate change. Their invention is Not For Sale! The two scientists have other plans for it…
If you like Crichton, Brown, Baldacci, Koontz, Grisham and others like them – you are going to like this fast-paced thriller. And even though you may not have heard of me, give it a read, it is an interesting story – worth your time and money.
“Where am I?”
Dr. Ravi Kumar, a world-renowned aerospace engineer and the director of a prestigious aviation institute in Ithaca, New York, woke up in the middle of the night, sweaty and completely disoriented. He had no idea where he was except that he was on the run with his wife, Caitlyn. He turned over and felt Caitlyn—she was there in bed next to him. He let out a big sigh of relief and then slowly it all began to come back.
He was in a Riad in Casablanca, Morocco, which belonged to Dr. Larabi Hasan, his friend and old colleague from the Materials Research Institute in Ithaca, New York. Ravi had called him yesterday from Marseille, France, to ask for a place to stay for a few days where he and Caitlyn could keep a low profile and sort things out. At least two teams of professional hit men were after them, trying to bring them back to the States—willingly or otherwise.
So far, they had managed to stay just a step ahead. But Ravi had no illusion that it was only a matter of time before their luck ran out. They had been on the run for the last six weeks and it just could not go on. He needed a place where they could stay while he came up with a survival plan. He still could not believe that a person like him—that many would call colorless and nerdy—was involved in an international manhunt, running for his life. It did not make any sense.
It all seemed to have started six months ago when Ravi came up with the secret ingredient to a substance that had the power to change the future of the aviation industry—and the future of the planet itself.
Ithaca, New York, February 1st, 4 P.M.
Ravi was in his director’s office at the Materials Research Institute when he received a call from his colleague, Dr. Marcel Giraud.
“Ravi, come down to the conference room in the lab!” Marcel exclaimed. “I’ve just gotten the test results.”
Could they have found the missing element?
Ravi excitedly banged his fist so hard on his desk that he almost fractured his knuckles. Then he jumped up and headed downstairs to where Marcel and his colleagues were gathered.
It was not a long walk. The institute was in a cavernous building that used to hum with textile weaving and garment making machinery but had ceased production due to it, like many others in the country, not being able to compete against cheaper imports from China and other low-cost countries. It looked derelict from outside, with windows covered with grime and some of the bricks peeling off from the façade. Ravi and his nonprofit institute had acquired the building from the liquidators for almost nothing. Located just a few miles from the expansive campus of Cornell University, his alma mater, it was ideal for Ravi and his small team of scientists to conduct their research and advance the state of the art in materials technology—especially the very high-tech materials used in airplane engines.
For the last ten years, they had been laser focused on inventing a new super alloy—a mixture of two or more elements existing in nature, with at least one of them being a metal. Super alloys were mostly used in airplane engines, which allowed them to pack the power equal to ten train locomotives into a box the size of a couch. Most of the super alloys started with a nickel or cobalt-based material, which provided the strength at the exceedingly high temperatures these engines normally operated at. They were then alloyed or compounded with metals and non-metals, including chromium, which provided corrosion resistance; aluminum, which provided oxidation resistance; and others such as titanium, iron, carbon, and silicon. In addition, the alloying had to be conducted at precisely controlled temperatures, heating and cooling rates, and conditions. The super alloy Ravi’s team was working on would allow planes to fly faster for longer distances, while burning less fuel and thus reducing climate-harming greenhouse gases—a scourge that Ravi had dedicated his life’s work to fighting.
Two years ago, Dr. Marcel Giraud had entered the picture. A lanky Frenchman in his mid-thirties, he was an assistant professor at the Université de Marseille and a visiting associate at the Materials Research Institute. Over the following months he was joined by Dr. Larabi Hasan from Morocco and Dr. Riccardo Sperra from Palermo, Sicily. Larabi was a serious man in his early forties and talked in a measured voice. Larabi’s light brown skin, from his Berber heritage—believed to be a cross between the Indians and the Arabs—made him uncannily look like Ravi, who also had remarkably similar skin tone from his North Indian heritage. Riccardo, a jovial, pudgy man in his late thirties, was always ready with a quip in English, which he usually got wrong. The staff at the institute loved the easy demeanor that masked the man’s tough-as-nails personality.
All three foreign scientists were close to the end of their terms at the institute and were scheduled to return home within the next six months.
“Good afternoon,” they greeted Ravi in a chorus as he entered the conference room.
It was a small room mostly occupied by a rectangular meeting table, with a glass wall on one side overlooking the shop floor and a large digital chalkboard opposite it. Another wall held a picture of the periodic table – a visual arrangement of all of the natural elements present on the planet – while the remaining wall was covered with a list of super alloy variants that Ravi and his team had explored over the last ten years. The variants had been both major—where the chemical composition of the super alloy had been changed from the previous versions—and minor—where the alloying process had been tweaked to obtain the desired material properties. The version that had been tested over the last three weeks was called MRI 297-10, meaning that it was the 297th major variant of the material, and the 10th minor variant within it.
“So, what do you have?” Ravi asked, pointing to the piece of metal on the conference table in front of them. It was one of the 20 sample pieces they had produced in the lab and was the last one available for display, the other 19 having been used for the myriad of tests the team was conducting. For the scientists assembled there, that piece of nondescript metal was a work of art, with its white-yellow hue that seemed to glow under the overhead conference room lights.
“This latest version appears to just about meet all our requirements, including high temperature strength, distortion, creep, and fatigue,” Marcel said.
“What do you mean, ‘just about’?” Ravi asked with anticipation and concern in his voice.
“We might be a little off on the fracture toughness and ductility,” Larabi explained.
Ravi imperceptibly shook his head with disappointment. These were the two last key properties his team had been struggling to achieve over the last six months. The material in airplane engines needed to be tough enough to withstand the ingestion of many foreign objects, including birds, ice, pebbles, and dust particles, at an exceedingly high force. At the same time, it needed to be able to maintain its exceptional strength at the extremely high internal temperatures of airplane engines. Any shortfall in these properties meant that the material was still not ready for prime time and they had to continue their arduous and painfully long search for either the missing element or a further tweak of the alloying process.
“I think the cooling rate needs to be adjusted,” Riccardo spoke up, trying to inject a sense of optimism. They could all see Ravi was disappointed at the news, even if he did not outwardly show his emotions. “If you like, I can have a new variant available for testing within the next two days. And I don’t think it would violate any of the regulatory constraints since I would still not have knowledge of the entire process.”
To meet stringent government and business constraints, the chemical composition and the alloying process were tightly controlled and could be disclosed only to U.S. citizens on a need-to-know basis. Even the regular members of Ravi’s team had limited access either to the chemical composition or the process, but not both. Visiting foreign researchers could test the new material and learn about what it could do, but not how.
“I’m sorry, Riccardo,” Ravi replied. “You may well be right, but I can’t afford to take any risks in this area.”
Ravi could see the disappointment on Riccardo’s face, as well as on the faces of Marcel and Larabi. He felt bad for them. They had all become good friends and he could understand their frustration at not being able to fully participate in the invention of this groundbreaking material. He would have felt the same, but his hands were tied.
“In any case,” Ravi continued, “I’m not certain we have the right chemistry. We may have to tweak it a little and make sure we have the right element.”
Ravi continued to think about it long after his colleagues had left for the day. He was certain that the missing element belonged to the Lanthanide group of metals, also known as rare-earth metals—not because they were rare, but because it was difficult to separate them from the mixture of metal ores dug out from the earth. This group of metals had the highest melting points and retained their strength at high temperatures. Ravi’s team had already tried Gadolinium and Thulium, which were close but not the ones. Could it be Erbium or Holmium? he wondered, scratching his head. These were the two elements next to the ones they had already experimented with. Feeling somewhat dejected and defeated at still not finding the right chemistry, he began to wonder if he would ever get there and if all their effort over the last ten years might have been in vain.
Just then a moth showed up from seemingly out of nowhere and landed, of all the places, on the rare-earth group of metals where the potential elements were located in the periodic table – specifically, on one of the two elements he was considering.
“That’s it! It has to be the one,” he screamed as loud as he could, looking up towards the ceiling and whispering under his breath, “Thank you.”
Tests still needed to be done for absolute confirmation, but Ravi was sure in his heart that this element was the one. Success was so close that he could almost taste it.
Ravi had waited for this moment for a long time. The son of middle-class, small textile business owners in Varanasi, India, he had been in the top one percent of his graduating class at the Indian Institute of Technology. After a yearlong internship at Tata Steels, one of the leading steels and aluminum manufacturing industries in the country, and another as a design engineer, he found himself not fully challenged and fulfilled. He had grown restless and wanted more. He found himself awake at nights thinking, “This cannot be it. I know I can do more. I want to be at the leading edge of my profession. I want to be where the action is. I want to be where new inventions and discoveries are being made. And it is not here in India.” He knew there was only one place on the planet that offered him the opportunities he was looking for, and that was the United States.
Over the next six months, he applied to all the major universities in the U.S. and was accepted at most of them. He decided on Cornell. It offered him a teaching assistantship, had a strong materials engineering program, and, more importantly, was the institution where Carl Sagan – one of Ravi’s favorite scientists – resided and taught.
When Ravi left India, he could take only $300 due to the strict foreign exchange control by the government. He traveled for a few weeks in Europe and spent most of that money before he arrived in Ithaca, New York, the home of Cornell University. After paying the YMCA for a place to stay for the night, he had $5 in his pocket. It seemed like a worn-out cliché, but he did come to this country with just $5 in his pocket.
What followed was a whirlwind of professional and personal achievements, but never in his wildest dreams could Ravi have imagined that at 47, almost 25 years after he had come to the United States, he was on the brink of making a discovery that could change the world and lift him, his family, and his beloved institute far from those struggling student days at Cornell.
And there was no one else he wanted to share this moment with more than his co-inventor and his life partner—and the only other person who knew everything about the super alloy—Dr. Caitlyn Mariko.
Raj Agrawal is a retired aerospace engineer and a first-generation immigrant from India. After completing his bachelor’s in engineering from the Institute of Technology located in his hometown of Varanasi, he came to Ottawa, Canada where he got his master’s in aerospace engineering and met his future wife, Mire Kimura, a fellow international student from Japan. They moved to Montreal where they made their home for almost a quarter century and became the proud parents of three daughters, all born in one year. The family immigrated to United States, the land of ground-breaking research and revolutionary inventions, just before the turn of the new century.
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