Da Vinci, Russell, Aristotle ... the great polymaths were my childhood heroes. I was inspired by the thought of doing many different things in life, and doing them all well. My fascination with this has led me to many twists and turns in my own journey of work and learning.
The future of the planet is increasingly shaped in urban areas. Already, more than half the people in the world live in cities, and this proportion will grow as large metropolises in many countries continue to attract new residents. I am interested in how urbanisation can be mapped, understood, managed, and imagined to support active citizens and create vibrant cities.
I also have a parallel interest in media. In 1998, Subramaniam Vincent and I began publishing India Together, which included positive development stories written by students. This has since grown into one of India's largest public affairs magazine, and I continue to edit it. Recently, I have been working with a few others to develop a hyper-local online news and information platform for cities.
The world is changing very fast, and an important reason for this is that technology is changing rapidly. That should give us a clue - that the answers to the complex challenges we see around us could themselves be in the realm of technology - how we shape it, and how we use it in the public interest. At Mapunity, the social technology firm I founded in 2006, we explore this question.
What I really wanted to be, as a young boy, was a scientist. I was fortunate to realise this dream - first as an astronomer studying star formation, and then as an climate scientist looking at clouds in Antarctica. These days, I don't get to do much scientific research myself, but still work with others who're answering interesting questions, especially in sustainability and public health.