Roy, who taught metallurgical thermodynamics to Pichai, said he showed a keen interest in electronics material and did his final year thesis on the subject.
He was shy, calm and quiet, and “very, very brilliant”.
“Such was his brilliance, that it was very much evident that he wanted to do something different. His interest in material sciences was visible from the second year itself. He alone opted for electronic material in his batch,” recalled Roy, himself an IIT alumnus.
Pichai, who came from an ordinary middle class family was “unquestionably intelligent”.
In August, 1993, Pichai left for US, where he joined Stanford University and completed an MS course in material sciences and engineering and an AMBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was adjudged a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar.
Last year, Pichai was invited as the chief guest in the annual fest of the institute. “But he could not come. And instead interacted with the students through a video conference,” said Roy.