IGCLA: In Conversation with the Speakers

 

We at MTTN had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with some of the estimable speakers at IGCLA 2017. Our conversations are chronicled below.

Dr Vinamrita Singh is an Assistant Professor at AIACT&R, Delhi.

MTTN: Your field of expertise is a highly specialised field with regular advancements, Could you tell us what made you go for it?

Dr Singh: It was rather sudden. I did my PG in physics in 2008 and after that I got placed in the oil and gas industry. You can see that my present research field is organic solar cells, a renewable energy research. While working over there, we saw the drastic Gulf of Mexico oil spill which occured in 2009 if I’m not wrong. That was a big oil spill that affected the ocean and marine life to a great extent. In 2010 I applied for PhD and I had two topics to choose from. One was glass matrix and the other was polymer photovoltaics. So at that time, solar cells instantly grasped my interest as it was quite contradictory to my job then. So, considering the importance and implications of it, I went for it.

MTTN: Would you call your journey a struggle or was it relatively smooth?

Dr Singh: This question is a bit tricky because when we are going through something, we relate it as being a struggle, but once we get over it and two three years have passed, we think life is smooth

I can say that basically, life is a series of ups and downs.

MTTN: Being a personality under 30 to have achieved so much, what advice do you have for budding physicists?

Dr Singh: Only advice I’d like to give is to keep pursuing what’s on your mind and do not give up. Google is our best friend. Any competition, conference, or, fellowship, just go for it, you never know what lies in the journey ahead.

Dr Jaikrit Bhutani is associated with PGIMS, Rohtak.

MTTN: After spending all these years in a medical college, would you call yourself a person who has everything planned or are you a ‘bring-it-on’ spontaneous person?

Dr Bhutani: Right at the outset you are asking me quite a hard question. See, having a plan is good, and definitely I do have a plan, but whatever is in the plan, the small procedures of the plan, each step of the plan, is not planned. That is spontaneous.

MTTN: What advancements are we in need of in Internal Medicine?

Dr Bhutani: In Internal Medicine, there is a lot of research and evidence based medicine. We live in the time where everything is evidence based. Whatever treatment the physician provides, evidence is necessary. Creating evidence for India is very important.

The research in US is successful because they are able to take what is from bedside to the bench and bench to bedside, which is called translational research. We lack that in India. We need time, and more effort. The Indian evidence needs to be created.

MTTN: You spoke about the meaning of happiness, could you reinforce the idea of it?

Dr Bhutani: I would interpret that as you asking me whether I am happy (laughter.) There is something as a goal, an objective and aims, which may seem same, but are all different. So, aims and objective are two words which are ruled out for happiness. You cannot objectively say you are happy today. But it is definitely a goal. You want to be happy. Nobody wants to die sad. The pursuit begins the day we are born and it ends the day you die. Whatever you do, you should find happiness.

Dr Sanjay Latthe is an Assistant Professor at Raje Ramrao College, Maharashtra.

MTTN: How do you think your field can intertwine with the field of health sciences in future?

Dr Latthe: In material science, many of the research groups are working for the betterment of humans through the help of health sciences. We work in an interdisciplinary aspect. We make TiO2 materials for antibacterial studies, and TiO2 membranes for air pollution. Actually material science is a booming field right now, people have been working a lot in the last decade. The researchers are working quite hard on such aspects.

We worked on a project to remove the nicotine from the air contaminated with smoke, at airports and subways, we put some TiO2 membranes which can capture the nicotine from the smoke.

MTTN: As a person currently working in your field, what is different now, as compared to the previous scenario?

Dr Latthe: It has changed dramatically. When I was doing my PhD, my research topic was very new, and we were focusing only on the synthesis of the materials, but as the time passes, we were looking for the applications too, and not only application, but a perfect industrial application. Now, everyone is stepping toward application based research.

MTTN: How do you think that this conference is a platform for you to see the change you want to see?

Dr Latthe: In such a conference, we try to explore our knowledge, and try to educate and also learn from the other scientists and the student and the interactions we have. IGCLA has set such a platform where I can develop my knowledge and help others too.

Dr Ravi Kumar Kanaparthi is an Assistant Professor at Central University of Kerala, India.

MTTN: How do you think Chemistry intertwines with health sciences, now and in the future?

Dr Kanaparthi: People are getting new and new diseases from time to time, and everywhere, the chemists have an important role, as the medications are prepared by them. Without which survival would be difficult. As long as life is there on this planet, chemistry has a major role. Not only in health science, as chemistry is in everything.

Even the chairs we are sitting on were earlier made of plant and wood, and now it is made of fiber. Since wood could not fulfill a lot of the expected properties, people started inventing new materials and came across fiber. Even emotions are controlled by chemistry, as they are dependent on hormones.

MTTN: As a person currently working in your field, what is different now, as compared to the previous scenario?

Dr Kanaparthi: We are facing a serious problem. The basic sciences have become unfavorable amongst students and parents. No one wants to become a researcher, but they want smarter and smarter phones. We are happy to enjoy electricity, but we don’t think of the effort that went behind it. There is a lot of research that the current generation is enjoying, but unfortunately a substantial amount of students are not coming towards research. But the Government of India, and us as well, are trying to change this.

MTTN: How do you think that this conference is a platform for you to see the change you want to see?

Dr Kanaparthi: Even though I am quite a busy person, this is a platform where I can see people who belong to different disciplines. If I can indulge a little bit of chemistry knowledge into them, they will be inspired, they will do a little bit of research. That’s how I am trying to use it, this is my second time here, and that is still my purpose.

MTTN: What advice would you like to give to budding chemists?

Dr Kanaparthi: I would like to give a general advice that one should love the subject. I would like to give parents advice to think in a different way, and allow their ward to take up their own thing, also they have the role to guide them in the proper way.

The interviews have been edited for clarity.

– MTTN was represented by Kezia Tyagi, Soumee Sengupta and Anjali Bhagat.

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