The Research Diaries – Part 1

“Research” – the word might excite you, instill boredom in you or remind you of a science project you did in the distant past. Quality research is a sophisticated endeavor and requires perseverance and patience, the latter quality being robbed off the current generation by exceeding expectations of the people and the self, thanks to the national media focusing on heavy paychecks and not on ground breaking research.
There was a time when Leonardo Da Vinci used to sit for hours thinking about something as trivial as the mechanism of blood flow in our body. Thanks to those hours of patient and clear thinking by numerous such minds, we have a foundation to stand and explore more.
Exploring is somewhat resonant with research. The true meaning of research lies in its etymology. It is derived from the French word ‘recherche’ which means ‘to search closely’. Research comprises of critical and exhaustive study of a certain topic.

IIT Kharagpur has proved to be one of the best places in the country for research work. There have been instances like lucrative job offers being rejected to pursue research. Yet another increment in the prestige of IIT Kharagpur Research Community was kindled by a Research Scholar, Ms.Nandini Bhandaru. She won the prestigious Young Scientist Award at the European Materials Research Society’s Spring Meet 2016. Her team included Dr.Rabibrata Mukherjee, Ms.Anuja Das, and Mr.Aditya Banerji. They recently attended the bi-annual conference held in France this month where this award was conferred to her.

Nandini and her team.

Nandini and her team.

This award is given on the basis of judging the CV, the presentation given by the candidate and the overall contribution to the concerned field by the candidate.

In a layman’s term, the research Nandini has done reduces the complexity of reproduction of the nano-scale fabrication techniques to a level where even a high-school laboratory can reciprocate the same results with access to less sophisticated equipment.
When asked about it, Nandini cheerfully said, “I’m feeling very excited. This is the first time to my knowledge that an Indian Researcher studying in India has got an award like this.” She further added that the environment of the lab, her co-researchers, and her mentor all contributed immensely to her success.

Nandini being presented the award.

Nandini being presented the award.

Dr.Rabibrata Mukherjee – Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and head of the Instability and Patterning Laboratory, had a lot to say about this.

” It is a very happy feeling that I mentored Nandini up to a level where she is now competing with the best in the world. The secret to this success is extremely high-quality novel research which as of now is very fundamental but has the potential to be a game-changer in years to come. Nandini can manipulate things at the nanoscale with utmost precision by carefully controlling the forces that are active in this regime. She has now proven that her work is groundbreaking and we are all very proud that she has placed IIT KGP’s name in a major student award.”

Dr. Rabibrata Mukherjee and Ms. Nandini Bhandaru.

Dr. Rabibrata Mukherjee and Ms. Nandini Bhandaru.

The story’s not over yet. With all of this still hanging overhead, Nandini will be en route to another seminar being held in Germany – the Indo-German Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. Interestingly, only 25 people from India are attending this seminar, with all the 24 others being Professors. “It’s a mystery to us how she was selected!”, said Dr. Rabibrata on this.

It is indeed a proud moment for KGPians and should serve as a motivation for potential scientists peppered throughout the KGP population. An eye-opening and a refreshingly new take on research, this is a positive leap towards bringing out that hidden question mark that always sets you on a quest for great discoveries.
For those still harboring doubts, here are a few last words from Dr.Rabibrata, himself a great researcher and a big name in the scientific circles. “Those who want to pursue research, please do. It’s only in research that you get to realize your true potential. The creative satisfaction you get by discovering something unknown can’t be compensated by any amount of money or any salary package.”
So all the budding Galileo’s and Einstein’s out there, it is high time you embraced the world of the unknown by diving into research work.

Cheat Code: The first step is talking about your interest to a Professor of the subject you love.

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