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Journey of Mechanical from India to Physics in Paris – Ankul Prajapati

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नमस्ते! I am Ankul Prajapati, a physics connoisseur and final year mechanical undergraduate from SV National Institute of Technology, Surat. After completing school I always wanted to study pure physics and become a theoretical physicist but by myself, I have decided that only if I get IISc or IISER I will choose physics for my undergrad otherwise will go for engineering and then complete higher study in physics. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to score well in JEE Advance, and finally decided to choose Mechanical Engineering at NIT Surat as most of the physics aspirants do, who don’t get pure physics at the undergrad level. Till the first year I was not aware that in the future, an engineering degree would not be accepted at most institutions for a physics master’s or Ph.D. When I got to know about the scenario, somehow I was able to manage and started searching for opportunities for a student like me. In the second year of BTech spent more than 50% time sitting in front of a laptop and doing research and finding my interest. For this followed a very simple method and would recommend it to everyone. At the very first you need to realize your prime area of research interest, to find out this you can target top colleges in the world and their detailed research area with impact. If you find something interesting, go in-depth and read about the ongoing project and associated faculty research papers, thus you will be having all fields exposure and a point where the scientific world is working right now.
After realizing my interest in astrophysics and cosmology, joined the applied physics department at my own institute for a project under the supervision of a professor. After spending the whole year realized that it’s not my cup of tea because of lots of data analysis work involved in astrophysics. Later on, I explored my second area of interest which is Quantum Technology and continued the same. At the end of the first year, I thought let’s see if some student chapter can help me in building the profile but found it useless. This was the time when I thought to found my own research organization and finally along with 4 other students founded a research group named Bose.X (https://www.bosex.org/about-us) more detail can be found on the site. And currently, it is consisting of 25 core members.
Time was passing very fast and one thing that always bothered me that is very fewer achievements according to age, as I have seen many other countries’ students doing great even in school only (Hunger for achievements). Fortunately, in the second year of the course, during winter, I got selected for a course by the Indian Academy of Science where I met many renowned scientists including the Royal Society of London fellows. And this was the turning point as a few of them suggested writing research papers to get selected at the top physics institute and that day onwards, I started working on my own with other junior friends under Bose.X group. In the second year again could not get a physics internship and joined at Cryogenic Engineering Centre IIT KGP, where I had the opportunity to work on semi-cryogenic rocket engines, the obtained results are already published in reputed Journals and International conferences. The same result was presented at an ISRO conference and this was my first conference. I believe in practicality and self-motivation. At this conference when I didn’t find any undergraduate student got a very high thrust of motivation which was fueled after meeting with Missile Woman Dr. Tessy Thomas and Brahmos CEO Dr. Mishra. During the third year, I continued in quantum technology and worked on quantum dot-based photovoltaics, and presented a few papers at international conferences. After the third year I was expecting to get an internship abroad but due to funding issues could not. So decided to be in India only and get selected for three internships (IUCAA, IISc, and BARC). According to the project and area of interest, I decided to go for IUCAA where I worked with Dr. Joydeep Bagchi (The lead discoverer of the farthest-known supercluster Sarswati). Knowing the need for next-generation technology I continued my research work in quantum dots-based devices such as solar cells and qubits, the computational results and study have been presented at International Conferences and published in Springer Nature also. Most of the work has been done independently under Bose.X.
Now the time came when I have to decide whether to go for a direct Ph.D. or Masters. As I was not fully ready for writing Physics GRE so I left with only European and Australian institutes. Before applying for the next degree I was having a total of 8 research papers (5 Conf + 3 Journals) so I was quite confident about the selection. And finally, to date got acceptance by the Sapienza University of Rome (QS Physics world ranking 34) in nanophysics and am expecting to get an offer from the Max-Plank integrated Ph.D. program (IMPRS). My other backup plan was to join IIT Bombay for one year as a research assistant (already confirmed). Most of us don’t have enough research experience in profile so joining RA is always a safe option and gives us a better opportunity. Forgoing abroad building a profile is very important, I would suggest being very precise about the area of interest and working with professors or independently if you can, and trying to attend some conferences with results, the path will be automatically generated. I think there are already articles for test preparation and procedure so refer to those.
Bose.X – It is an independent scientific research group where people collaborate, learn and grow together to help them in scientific endeavors. It was founded in 2018 by me and Shashwat Singh (a third-year mechanical undergraduate at SVNIT). It provides proper training for research which can be turned into innovation and later on techniques for scaling the ideas, along with this framing India’s educational policy and building a think tank through which they can prepare themselves to tackle future challenges. Students of different disciplines who want to do research in any field, but are unable to find proper guidance or suitable background for the same. This group binds such people together and provides all information about conferences, essays, and competitions that are being held every year to encourage young researchers. In this way overall development of an individual takes place. Currently, our major research work is focused on different emerging technologies and fundamental physical problems like Quantum Engineering, Nanoscience, Renewable Energy, etc. Its long-term vision is to provide training for research, innovation, and commercialization (TRIAC), and ultimately work for creating multiple Satyendra Nath Bose and C V Raman-like scientists for India as the name of the group indicates. (https://www.bosex.org/about-us).
For my research papers, you can google the full name.
Thank you for reading (sorry for any grammatical mistakes)

12 thoughts on “Journey of Mechanical from India to Physics in Paris – Ankul Prajapati”

  1. Sir I am a betech chemical engineering and wanted to shift my courier to physcis and your story is amazing and have some back logs so can a lots of research papers help me getting a physics program abroad. And is canada good to do physics or usa is the choice even i am not financially tooo rich?.

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