About

Hello! Thanks for visiting my academic website. Here’s a bit about me:

london_eye
London Eye, 2021

What I do: I’m a guest scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPIPKS), Germany. Until recently, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Cambridge, UK, working in the research group of Prof. Nigel Cooper. Previously, I did a PhD in Physics from Cornell University, USA, working with Prof. Erich Mueller. I study the strange quantum behavior of the tiny particles which make up matter (see publications on arXiv), playing with ideas and mathematical models, and occasionally getting a glimpse of “the great ocean of truth” which lies “all undiscovered before me.” It’s indeed a privilege to have such a wonderful job!

Back story: I grew up in a middle-class Indian family near Kolkata, mostly a happy and curious child. I dreamt of being a musician, then a mathematician, then a physicist as I neared the end of high school (having very little idea of what either of those meant!). However, due to socio-economic constraints, I enrolled in an engineering program instead. But as an Electronics and Telecom undergrad at Jadavpur University, I got even more attracted to physics, as I explored wonderful books and did some theory work with Prof. Subhankar Ray. Eventually I applied to physics PhD programs and ended up at Cornell, then Cambridge, then MPIPKS. If you’re interested in a more detailed (and dare I say entertaining!) account, read this biographical sketch written as part of my PhD thesis.

Research: As matter is cooled to near absolute zero, strange properties emerge out of interactions between the particles which make up matter (atoms) and light (photons). My work consists of playing with mathematical models of such “quantum gases” to understand the rich features and make testable predictions, which could also have technological applications. Below are some stories based on my work, written for a general audience:

To find out more, please explore the Research page.

Teaching: I’ve had the chance to teach a variety of core and advanced undergraduate physics courses at Cornell and Cambridge. Much to my initial surprise, I’ve come to discover that I love teaching (apart from grading!). I have learned a great deal from interacting with enthusiastic (and sometimes not-so-enthusiastic!) students. I’m also interested in the findings of physics education research as to what teaching strategies are effective and what aren’t. To find out more about the courses I have taught and a collection of exercise problems, please see the Teaching page.

Other things I like: I’m fond of comedy and music, having learned ragas and Bengali music for several years. I also enjoy walking through the woods and thinking (about random things), listening to audiobooks and interviews, reading popular science articles, watching films, documentaries, and panel shows, spending time in a boat, playing cricket, tennis, and the harmonium, and traveling to new places, although I don’t get to do all these things very often. I like to live in the present, keep things simple, and stay hopeful of the future (well, I try!). But on the other hand, I rarely go to the gym and am quite lazy, so there you are.

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