Interview: Rajat Ghosh (Chem-2015)

Please state your current major and explain the area of research you are currently involved in. Do state your past research if any.

Current Major: Chemical Engineering

Area of research: Emission abatement from Diesel engines (Environmental Catalyst)

Brief Description: Emissions from diesel engines includes NOx, which cannot be let out into the atmosphere due to strict environmental regulations. Hence in diesel engines, Ammonia is used as a reducing agent to reduce NOx in presence of oxygen to N2(g) and H2O(g). This process is termed as Selective Catalytic Reduction(SCR). My work includes synthesis & characterization, reaction testing and modeling of above-mentioned reaction. All these aspects expose me to a wide variety of skills pertaining to materials and reaction engineering.

Previous Research experience:

  • Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India 2015

UGC-NRC sponsored Undergraduate Research Internship Program Fellow

Project Title: “Graphene Synthesis – Electrochemical Exfoliation “

It is established through XRD studies that electrolytic exfoliation can be used directly for Graphene formation out of dry battery carbon rods that are available in waste batteries.

  • Department of Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology – Trichy, India 2013 – 2014

         Project Title: “Heat transfer enhancement in an Agitated vessel using Nanoparticles”

Established a generalized empirical correlation in terms of Nusselt number, Reynolds number and Prandtl number through the study of heat transfer coefficient in a jacketed baffled agitated vessel for different concentration of Ethylene Glycol- Water mixture and Alumina Nanoparticles of 40nm size

  • Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Technology – Trichy, India 2013

         Project Title” “Dye Removal using Advanced Oxidative Process (Electro-Fenton method)”

The efficiency of Dye Removal using Electro-Fenton Method was studied for various concentrations of [Fe (3+)] ions, different pH, voltage, the spacing between electrodes (Graphite) and optimum operating conditions were ascertained through sample analysis for absorbance, COD.

What should students know before taking up research? How should
they pursue their career in research?
Pursuing a career in research is based solely on the individual. It is not an easy process, you would be dealing with a lot of failures and it takes a long-term commitment. So, one must be patient and not get dejected very soon. Everything else can be learnt through experience.

On how to pursue a career in research:

  1. Read about various advances in the area of science or technology. It need not be related to what he/she might be studying. Research has evolved into a multi-disciplinary area.
  2. Quite important this, maintain a very good GPA. No questions asked.
  3. Have a habit of participating in technical events, you learn a lot in the process.
  4. Be in touch with the professors, as they would be provided with recommendations.
  5. Try to increase your network of friends with like-minded goals, it helps a lot. Makes yourself competitive.
  6. Apply for MITACS, DAAD and other research internships within India.
  7. GRE and TOEFL preps, be a bit serious about this! We would rock on the quants, but the verbal section might prove challenging. TOEFL is quite easy, it is just the GRE that is a tad bit difficult. Increase your vocabulary.
  8. As always try to have fun, you have all this way! I am sure things would be on the brighter side from here on.
  9. And your seniors are always there to help you out!

Why are research internships important? How do students hone their skills through these internships?
Research internships help in learning ways to tackle a given problem and gets exposed to advances in that area of work. Get exposed to different scientific techniques and apparatus. Working with a different professor gives you access to his links in other universities and a source of recommendation. This contact would prove very useful when you apply for colleges. It is good to have a recommendation from someone outside.

PS: Keep your eyes open for various internship opportunities. Do not be shy in mailing a professor from any university if you are really interested.

What other skills do you think students need to learn before/while 
pursuing higher studies in engineering and sciences?
Good grip over mathematics and expomodeling software such as MATLAB.

Where do you think, the research scenario in NIT Trichy needs
improvement, and how can it be improved?
Research scenario at NITT:

More interactions between professors and students about the work they are doing in their respective labs. During my time, I had no idea about the type of research work going on in the department. The websites had no relevant information about it either. I would suggest the professors to maintain their own research page which is kept up to date.

Encourage the professors to take undergraduates in the labs, it is not like they would be paying us, so the least they could do is to help the students. Implementing some sort of research fellowship programs within the college. Selection of quality professors, I am quite sure everyone would know about the quality of professors in our departments. This needs to improve. a Having doctoral degree from IITs is no longer a marker for quality. And most of the professors who come in do not have any projects they would like to pursue. I am not sure what would be a compromised way to selecting good professors for our college, considering the bureaucracy that goes with it. Industrial collaborations as these are the projects that have some real impact on day to day lives and exposes to a huge amount of knowledge and experience. Collaborations with other universities as well, not some university from the remote part of South Korea or some small private university in Singapore.

What must one do after getting admitted into college? I.e How do 
you feel time must be utilized post-admission?
Nothing much I would say. Try to get oneself into lab work there. It need not be aligned towards his research interest. Working in lab helps the student get exposed to working with various apparatus and approaches to solve a problem. Also, take a keen interest in the subject, understand the fundamental questions. Oh yes have fun! Don’t dampen the college years with just “course work”. Every aspect of college life be it mass bunks or going out to road side stalls for dinner.

What are some things about your career path you wish you knew in college, in retrospect?

In NITT, I guess we had good exposure with what needs to be done with respect to career paths.  We ourselves as students have a good base of knowledge regarding this.

What exams do you think are most important to write before applying for higher studies?

GRE and TOEFL. GATE exam paves the way to work with professors in IITs, IISc and ICT. And perhaps to other research centers in India.

How useful is having work experience before applying for higher studies?
Work experience is not that important, but having it perhaps improves your profile. I would say working in company related to your subject would help you while applying for universities. Yes, one year is ample time.

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2 thoughts on “Interview: Rajat Ghosh (Chem-2015)

  • March 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Learnt* sorry about that.

    • March 11, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Made the edit.


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