The three Mumbai-based recipients of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award this yr focus on their path-breaking analysis.

Even earlier than he turned a recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2020, Kinshuk Dasgupta’s work had put him within the highlight. A number of years in the past, the scientific officer at Bhabha Atomic Analysis Centre and affiliate professor of engineering sciences on the Homi Bhabha Nationwide Institute, had developed the ‘Bhabha Kavach’, a light-weight bulletproof jacket made with laborious boron carbide ceramics, carbon nanotubes and composite polymer. Presently, a regular-sized, bullet proof jacket that provides Indian defence forces Degree III plus safety — which means, it may possibly defend in opposition to INSAS rounds in addition to laborious steel-core bullets — weighs above 10 kg; a comparable model of Dasgupta’s jacket solely weighs 6.8 kg. “Moreover, the areal density of the Bhabha Kavach is 25, whereas for different comparable jackets, it’s greater than 27,” provides Dasgupta, 43, who studied metallurgy at Jadavpur College, Kolkata.

One other Jadavpur College alumnus, Suryendu Dutta, at present a professor within the division of earth sciences at IIT Bombay, obtained the SSB prize for Science and Expertise in Earth, Environment, Ocean and Planetary Sciences this yr — a uncommon feat for an natural geochemist and molecular palaeobiologist because it’s often local weather change scientists who’re feted on this class. Born in Mollarpur, West Bengal, Dutta, whose busy days are solely sometimes punctuated by leisurely walks alongside Powai Lake, says that when he married Suchiraka Haldar, an English instructor, some 12 years in the past, “she knew and accepted I’d dedicate loads of time in academia.”

Work, in spite of everything, will be all-consuming for scientists. Professor UK Anandavardhanan, recipient of this yr’s SSB Prize for Mathematical Sciences, for instance, likes to learn, however says he hardly ever finds the time for it. “I compensate by speaking to individuals who learn rather a lot,” he says, with fun.

UK Anandavardhanan has been investigating the representation theory of groups (like the Lie groups) (CONFERENCES.MATH.TIFR.RES.IN)

UK Anandavardhanan has been investigating the illustration idea of teams (just like the Lie teams) (CONFERENCES.MATH.TIFR.RES.IN)

Anandavardhanan, who specialises in quantity idea, automorphic varieties and illustration idea at IIT Bombay, moved right here from a village close to Kozhikode in 2002, having executed his PhD on the College of Hyderabad. He did his postdoctoral analysis at TIFR, Mumbai, the place he was mentored by the acclaimed quantity theorist Dipendra Prasad, 2002 SSB Prize winner, and one of many mathematicians who posed the “Gan- Gross-Prasad conjectures”.

Anandavardhanan’s personal work, because it occurs, is within the space of “relative Langlands programme”, during which, he shares, “loads of work, in recent times, has been guided by the Gan-Gross- Prasad conjectures.”

Anandavardhanan has been investigating the illustration idea of teams (just like the Lie teams), algebraic constructions which can be a part of the Langlands programme. Named after Robert Langlands, it is a giant mission, a philosophy actually, with deep insights and conjectures which have revolutionised fashionable quantity idea, connecting it to different areas of arithmetic similar to evaluation and geometry. “The conjectures of the Langlands Programme have formed analysis for many years,” says the 44-yearold professor of arithmetic at IIT Bombay. “Math is a really broad topic and has loads of functions in each discipline. However the functions of pure math should not all the time instantly obvious. It could not even have functions, and that’s high-quality, too,” says Anandavardhanan, who shares his love for the topic along with his spouse Rajeswari Aradhyula — they have been classmates at College of Hyderabad after they have been working in the direction of their arithmetic postgraduate levels. “It’s functions which can be inside to arithmetic itself that drive most mathematicians,” says the scientist, whose ardour for numbers was fuelled by a charismatic instructor in school.

Dasgupta, too, credit his success to educators, significantly to the steering he obtained from his PhD guides on the Institute of Chemical Expertise in Mumbai: Padma Bhushan recipient JB Joshi and Padma Shri Srikumar Banerjee (each additionally SSB Award recipients). Initially from Bally in Howrah, West Bengal, Dasgupta says he’s additionally grateful for the help of his dad and mom Raghunath and Pritikana, his spouse Puspita and daughters, and his mentors Madangopal Krishnan, JK Chakravartty and the late Sekhar Basu, former director, BARC.

The Bhabha Kavach (right), a lightweight bulletproof vest, is just one application of Kinshuk Dasgupta’s work

The Bhabha Kavach (proper), a light-weight bulletproof vest, is only one software of Kinshuk Dasgupta’s work

The bulletproof jacket talked about earlier is only one software of Dasgupta’s work. The scientist, whose focus space has been carbon-based supplies, has additionally been growing the know-how required for largescale manufacturing of carbon nano supplies. “Nano supplies have loads of enticing properties,” he explains. “The carbon nanotube, for instance, is extraordinarily sturdy and an excellent electrical and thermal conductor. However these qualities don’t translate properly in largescale manufacturing. At BARC, now we have developed the know-how to create virtually a kilo of carbon nanotubes per day, which is the biggest capability within the nation.” That is vital as India at present imports carbon nanotubes, that are broadly used for structural reinforcement. The chemical vapour deposition method that Dasgupta and crew make use of additionally makes manufacturing value efficient. “Whereas imported carbon nanotubes value about Rs one lakh per kg, at BARC, it’s now doable to get it at Rs 10,000 per kg,” says Dasgupta. “If developed at an industrial scale, the price would scale back additional.”

Dutta’s work, too, is of super nationwide significance. He has been learning the evolution of terpenoids to grasp how this plant-derived natural matter is usually a supply of liquid hydrocarbons. Of the 38 sedimentary basins in India, at present solely eight are petroleum producing, that’s, they’ve confirmed hydrocarbon deposits. “In most petroliferous basins, like Mumbai and Assam, a significant factor of terpenoids are derived from crops,” says Dutta, 42. Terpenoid biomarkers are required to analyse the oil high quality and gauge what the oil can be utilized for.

“I’m attempting to grasp the evolution of endemic crops,” Dutta shares, “I’ve been taking a look at how some terpenoids developed by means of the continental drift, earlier than which India was a part of Gondwanaland.” He has additionally been learning unconventional reserves like shale gasoline and shale oil. The method utilized by him makes it doable to quickly delineate shale oil bearing layers in sedimentary rocks. With large implications for hydrocarbon manufacturing capability — at a time when hydrocarbon reserves are getting depleted the world over — his analysis can take oil corporations to the subsequent degree, which, naturally, would have a huge effect on the economic system.

What then does an award (even one so prestigious) imply when the work itself is so rewarding? “A terrific deal,” says Dutta, “It recognises the work I’ve executed ever since I joined IIT Bombay in 2007,” he says. Anandavardhanan provides: “It’s good to be recognised, particularly as, on this case, it’s by senior individuals in a single’s personal analysis group. It’s an unimaginable feeling.”

S Dutta has been studying the evolution of plant-derived matter to see how it can be a source of liquid hydrocarbons

S Dutta has been learning the evolution of plant-derived matter to see how it may be a supply of liquid hydrocarbons

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