Two Bengalis have recently made the state proud in the field of physics. Among them is a young scientist-cum-professor at Stanford University in USA and an aspiring scientist from the backwaters of West Bengal, who has got a scholarship to do research at the famed Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge University.
Subhasish's Success Story
A team led by Stanford University professors Shubhasish Mitra and HS Philip Wong has created a computer chip out of carbon nanotubes, opening up a new frontier in the field of smaller and faster computers. After it was published in the well-known science journal, Nature, scientists at the forefront of researching with computer chips have accepted that the invention would go a long way in creating much faster computers in the future.
The future, though, is a bit far off. According to Professor Mitra, it would be ten years or more before computers using this invention become available to the general consumer in a cost-effective form.
To understand carbon nanotubes, think of a sheet of carbon atoms. When
this sheet is folded into a tubular form, it becomes a carbon nanotube.
Being on an atomic scale, the diameter of such a tube is 1.2 nanometres.
In practical terms, if you were to divide the diameter of a single
strand of hair into a hundred thousand parts, 1 nanometre would be just
one of those parts.
Creating computers using such small entities has a lot of advantages. Current computer chips use silicon to create the transistors which make up the microprocessor unit on a computer chip (hence such chips are called silicon ships), whereas Professor Mitra’s team has used carbon nanotubes to create transistors. The smaller a silicon chip is, the greater is the energy, that is, it needs to run. And the use of greater energy results in the chip, and consequently, the computer to heat up. This is why the underside of a laptop heats up after a certain duration of usage.
Chips with carbon nanotube transistors instead of silicon transistors have been shown to run on lesser energy, and consequently leading to lesser heating up. Since the number of transistors on a chip along with their speed of operation determine the speed at which a chip (more correctly, the processor in the chip) runs, with smaller carbon nanotube transistors, more can be stuffed to create a faster chip, yet which would run on lesser energy. This means energy efficiency, which also brings in the aspect of environment-friendliness.
According to Mitra, using the new type of transistors, it is possible to create processors of 10-20 gigahertz, but consuming far less energy than processors with silicon transistors.
Going Global, Making Bengal Proud
Another Bengali to have come up trumps recently in the field of science is Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics student, Arka Bikash Dey. He recently bagged the prestigious Saha-Cambridge Scholarship to do research for a PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge.
Arka hails from a small village in the district of Murshidabad. After schooling at Krishnanath College School in Behrampore, Arka joined Presidency College in Kolkata. A BSc and an MSc (from Rajabazar Science College) later, he joined Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) for a special post-MSc course.
While a student there, SINP signed an agreement (in 2011) with Cambridge University for a joint scholarship programme for doing PhD. This is the first such scholarship programme between an Indian institute and Cambridge University.
Always a brilliant student, this year, he became the first recipient of this scholarship, named Saha-Cambridge Scholarship. Every year, a maximum of two students are to be sent to Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge as part of this scholarship programme, after being selected by a joint committee of Saha Institute and Cambridge University professors. Arka is not only the first, this year he is the only recipient of this scholarship. . Hence, Arka’s is a really special achievement.
The Cavendish Laboratory has always been an incubator of brilliant work. Till date, 29 Nobel laureates have received their prizes based on work done while at this research institute, including people such as Ernest Rutherford, Lord Rayleigh, JJ Thomson, Aaron Klug and Norman Ramsey.
Arka’s parents, professors and friends are naturally very proud of his achievement. From a small village in Murshidabad, Arka has come a long way. With such a list of luminaries for company, it is not too much to hope that Arka would one day make his country and state proud with his scientific achievements.
Team M3.tv believes sharing the success stories of these two young achievers from Bengal will inspire many more such talented students to shine in their respective fields, and make the state as well as the global Bengali community proud.
We look forward to sharing more such stories in the future with the belief that because of such talents, Bengal will reclaim her position as a global superpower one day.