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Meet India’s 25 ‘most productive’ scientists: From CERN atom smashers to whiz with 84 doctorates

52 Indian scientists are in the world's top 2% according to the Alper Dodger Scientific Index for 2023, released Monday. Here’s a look at the top 25 and their work.

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New Delhi:  On Monday, 52 Indian scientists figured in the world’s top 2 per cent in the Alper Doger (AD) Scientific Index 2023 — a ranking and analysis system that, according to its website, is “based on the scientific performance and the added value of the scientific productivity of individual scientists”.

Developed by two Turkish scientists, Murat Alper and Cihan Doger, the AD Scientific Index is a ranking system that draws on several metrics, such as the i10-index and the h-index.

These indices take into consideration factors such as the number of scholarly publications a person has, and how many times these have been cited in other publications.

India ranks at number 21 in a list led by the United States with 4,935 scientists in the world’s top 2 per cent. Here’s a list of the top 25 scientists in India according to the AD Scientific Index.

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  1. J.B. Singh, Panjab University 

Topping the list of scientists from India, J.B, Singh was part of the team of scientists who discovered the top quark — a sub-atomic particle — in 1995. 

To date, Singh, who was ranked 124 on the list, continues to study the behaviour of high-energy subatomic particles. Some of his latest works include studying high-energy collisions and the decay of subatomic particles in particle accelerators. 

  1. Dipanwita Dutta, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 

A scientific officer at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, Dutta (rank 129) also works in the field of high-energy particle physics, with some of her most recent works studying subatomic particles that emanate as a result of high-energy collisions of atoms. Among her most cited articles is a 2012 paper studying a new boson at the Large Hadron Collider. 

  1. Gagan Mohanty, TIFR

A researcher at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mohanty (rank 186), whose research revolves around the fundamental questions of “What are the basic building blocks of matter” and “Starting from there, how did one end up at the present state of the universe?” 

Some of his research interests involve testing the standard model of the atom and studying the Higgs boson. 

  1.  A.K. Mohanty, director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 

Ranked 239 on the list, Ajit Kumar Mohanty was appointed the 13th director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in March 2019. Mohanty worked in several areas of nuclear physics using the Pelletron accelerator at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), PHENIX, and CMS experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), USA, and CERN, Geneva.

  1. Anirban Saha, Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences

Saha (rank 333) is an assistant professor of physics at Shoolini University in Himachal Pradesh. Saha is currently studying the fundamental laws of nature in high energy physics phenomenology, dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and a new scope for renewable energy with the help of molecular simulation in material science.

  1. Prafulla Kumar Behera, IIT Madras

Behera (rank 398) is an experimental particle physicist and has been part of the Belle II experimenta particle collider experiment designed to produce and detect a large number of particles called B mesons — at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation in Japan. 

  1. Piyali Banerjee, IIT Bombay

Coming in at number 441 on the list, Banerjee is a post-doctoral researcher in the department of physics at IIT Bombay. Her research focuses on high-energy particle physics, which involves smashing atoms at high speeds to study subatomic particles. 

Banerjee was part of the team that studied a new subatomic particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

8. Prashant Shukla, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 

Ranked 462, Shukla is involved with various international research collaborations at CERN, studying high-energy particle physics. His works also involve experiments that search for dark matter. 

  1. Vinod Kumar Gupta, IIT Roorkee 

A former faculty member at IIT Roorkee, Gupta’s fields of interest include environmental engineering, electro-analytical chemistry, developing chemical sensors, and waste management.  

Gupta’s team has been developing effective adsorbents from waste rubber tires for wastewater treatment. His team is also being funded by the Department of Science and Technology to identify and use naturally occurring materials to remove toxic contaminants from industrial wastewater. 

Gupta was ranked 484 on the list.  

  1. Vipin Bhatnagar, Panjab University

A physicist who works in the field of high-energy particles, Bhatnagar (rank 819) was also part of the research team that found the top quark in 1995. 

He also works in the field of computational physics — a branch where complex mathematical questions in physics are solved using computational methods — and high-performance computing, which uses supercomputers to solve complex problems. 

  1. Sunil Bansal, Panjab University

An assistant professor at Panjab University, Bansal (rank 879) is also an active member of the CMS experiment at CERN.  The CMS, or the Compact Muon Solenoid, is a general-purpose detector — that is, it’s designed to observe any new physics phenomenon that the Large Hadron Collider misses. The CMS experiment is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, involving about 5,500 scientists from various fields.  

  1. Suneel Dutt, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar National Institute of Technology

Dutt (rank 938) is also a high-energy particle physicist and an active member of the CMS collaboration. Some of his most recent research works delve into the properties and behaviour of the Higgs boson.

  1. Bedangadas Mohanty, National Institute of Science Education and Research

Mohanty (rank 1013) is a physicist studying ‘strong interactions’, one of the four basic interactions that occur in nature. Mohanty has also been involved with the STAR experiment — an international collaboration of 72 institutions from 15 countries. The collaboration detected evidence of antimatter and continues to study its properties.

 Antimatter is defined as matter composed of the anti-particles (or “partners”) of the corresponding particles in “ordinary” matter. Antimatter is the same as ordinary matter except that it has the opposite electric charge.

  1. Naba Mondal, TIFR

Mondal (rank 1089) was involved in the development of the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) — a world-class underground laboratory for carrying out research in the emerging field of neutrino physics. 

A collaboration of more than 100 physicists and engineers from various research institutes has been formed under his leadership. 

Since its inception, Mondal was part of the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), located in the Kolar district in Karnataka — a set of defunct gold mines where neutrino particle experiments and observations were conducted starting in 1960.

  1. C.N.R Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research

Ranked 1090 on the list, Rao has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. Rao, who received the Bharat Ratna in 2014, has honorary doctorates from 84 universities around the world and is described as a scientist who has received every possible award in his field except the Nobel.  

Rao has made pioneering contributions in the fields of semiconductors, nanomaterials, and hybrid materials. 

  1. D.P. Roy, TIFR

Ranked 1197, Roy, who passed away in 2017, made pioneering contributions in the area of particle and astroparticle physics. It was his theoretical work, which suggested how to look for a signature or tell-tale signs, that paved the way for the top quark search at CERN and its discovery in 1995. 

  1. Susanta Pal, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre

Pal (rank 1375) is also a high-energy particle physicist with his research contributing towards the understanding of dark matter— a mysterious particle that is said to make up the majority of the Universe. 

  1. Debasish Das, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics

Das (rank 1396) works in the field of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) — the theory of the strong interaction between subatomic particles called quarks mediated by gluons.

Das also has expertise in the field of computational physics, working with data-driven simulations for physics analysis. In the field of experimental nuclear and particle physics, Das has worked on developing detector electronics and hardware required to carry out such experiments.

  1. Mohan. V,  Madras Diabetes Research Foundation

Mohan (rank 1423) established the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in 1996. His research combines clinical, epidemiological, and genomic aspects of diabetes. Mohan’s areas of work include the epidemiology of diabetes and its complications, genomics of diabetes, nutrition and diabetes, and fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes.

  1. Baba Potukuchi, University of Jammu

Ranked 1697, Potukuchi is also an experimental high-energy particle physicist and has been involved with experiments at CERN and the US Fermilab.  

  1. Sabu Thomas, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala

The vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala, Thomas comes in at 2,456. He works in the field of macromolecular science and green composites for a wide range of technological applications.

Much of his research revolves around studying and understanding the properties of polymers that help pave the way for novel applications. 

  1.  Shubham Pandey, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar

Ranked 2590, Pandey is part of an international collaboration studying dark energy. He also works in the field of particle physics, understanding the decay of subatomic particles.  

  1. Raghunath Sahoo, IIT Indore

Sahoo (rank 2887) is an experimental high-energy nuclear physicist. Among his research interests is using machine hearning and artificial intelligence to improve our understanding of high-energy physics — a study of fundamental particles and forces that constitute the building blocks of matter. 

  1. Vinod Kumar, Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat

Kumar (rank 3187) is the dean (Academics and Research) at JUIT. His areas of interest have been testing and modelling geotechnical materials, and their applications to geotechnical engineering focussing on Solid Waste Management (SWM) and preventing landslides.

  1. Rakhi Dandona, Public Health Foundation of India

A professor at the Public Health Foundation of India and at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Dandona (rank 3,556) has led and contributed to a variety of epidemiological studies and health system studies in India for over 25 years, including communicable and non-communicable diseases and injuries.  

Perinatal health and injuries have been her major research interests over the last decade, with a focus on epidemiology and broader determinants of road injuries, suicide, neonatal mortality, and stillbirths. 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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