As a boy, Majumdar moved around India constantly. His father, a telecommunications specialist, serviced radio equipment at various airports. Inspired by the aircraft he watched landing and taking off, Majumdar began making wooden gliders and experimenting with his own model airplane designs. Coming out of secondary school, he took the entrance exam for the Indian Institutes of Technology and, among 150,000 applicants, landed one of 1,500 slots. Ultimately, he emerged as the top engineering student at IIT-Bombay. From there,he was offered a Regents fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied the science of heat and radiation under thermal expert Chang-Lin Tien, who would go on to become the university's chancellor.