Collective Phenomena Lab,
Chemical Engineering, IISc Bangalore, India
I received my PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, (IIT Madras) India where I worked in the department of chemical engineering in the area of droplet microfluidics. After my PhD, I continued to work in IIT Madras as a post-doctoral fellow and involved myself in a variety of collaborative projects that include, the experimental investigation of a spinning disk atomizer to synthesize mono-disperse particles, modelling the working of an Aluminium smelting operation (in collaboration with GE), sensor design for droplet detection, development of machine learning approaches for droplet microfluidics etc. I am one of the recipients of the DST INSPIRE faculty award, of the July 2017 call and I am currently hosted by the department of chemical engineering, IISc Bengaluru, India. My research interests broadly encompass understanding the non-linear interactions and collective dynamics in natural and artificial systems. I enjoy discovering and modelling the physics that underlies complex systems, using simple models. My approach to these problems includes a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches. A top-down approach involves identifying the mathematical equations that govern the averaged dynamics of the system as a whole, while a bottom-up approach perceives the observed system-level behaviour as a consequence of the interactions at the entity level.
Pic: Oral presentation in European control conference (ECC) 2014 in Strasbourg France
For my PhD, I worked in the area of droplet microfluidics, under the guidance of Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy, where I studied the collective dynamics of drops in 2D microchannels. Drops as they flow, interact hydrodynamically with other drops and their surroundings, to exhibit collective behaviour. I employed an agent-based approach to understand how drop-level interactions can result in collective behaviours like self-organization and coalescence avalanches in concentrated systems. Other problems that I am interested in include the complex traffic in living systems. Vehicular traffic on Indian roads, where lane flow is not enforced, is non-linear and can often result in collective behaviour. Models that capture the flow dynamics as a function of individual human decision can be very useful in city planning. Optimal signal design for traffic control can be identified rationally. It would be interesting to compare the behaviour of human traffic to that of animals and artificial systems (drops) especially in large numbers. One of the problems I am working on currently involves investigating the collective dynamics of agents with cognition.
During the course of my PhD, I had the opportunity to visit West Virginia University (for approximately four months) and work with Dr Debangshu Bhattacharya on modelling the health of the refractory of a high temperature and pressure gasifier. A DEM method was proposed to establish a relation between the operating conditions of the process and the life of the refractory lining on the walls of the reactor. Though the research I pursued as a doctoral scholar was focused on modelling, I began my research life as an experimentalist (for approximately two years) in A.C. Tech, Anna University, Chennai, India during my B. Tech program. The work involved the design of reactors for the fabrication and analysis of Titanium Dioxide-Silicon Dioxide composite photocatalysts modified by coating silver. The activity of the catalyst in degradation of textile effluents was studied as a function of the composition of the catalyst.
It isn’t just non-linear interactions and collective dynamics that fascinates me. The musical chords that strike a harmony with its own collective dynamics enthral me. I enjoy playing the piano and composing. I have completed Grade 8 in western classical Piano in the Associated Board of the royal school of music.
My true motivation for research stems from my faith as a Christian. For it was said "Great are the works of the Lord, it is pondered by all those who delight in them"- Psalm 111:2. I take inspiration from the Holy Bible which calls every Christian to discern for oneself what is right (Job 34:4), to test all theories and faith itself and finally hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Non-linear dynamics and complex behaviour in natural and artificial systems
Collective behaviour; Droplet microfluidic systems; human traffic; social behaviour in animals; heat, mass and momentum transport in engineering systems.
2007-2011 A.C. Tech, Anna University, Chennai; Bachelor of Technology
2011- 2017 Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai; Doctoral Scholar
2017- 2018 Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai; Postdoctoral fellow
2018- Present Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; DST-INSPIRE faculty