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Introducing Prof S Shankaranarayanan

We are delighted to welcome Professor S Shankaranarayanan to IIT Bombay family. He joined the department of Physics recently.

After completing his M.Sc. in Physics from IIT Madras, he followed it with PhD in Physics from IUCAA, Pune in 2002. He then joined ICTP, Trieste, Italy in 2003 as a Postdoctoral fellow and then AEI, Potsdam, Germany as Max Planck fellow. From 2007 to 2009, he was Marie Curie Fellow at ICG, University of Portsmouth, UK. He then served as Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor at School of Physics, IISER-TVM from 2009 to 2017.

His main fields of interest are field theory, general relativity and theoretical cosmology. His research has been interdisciplinary; it has centered on aspects of black-hole physics, cosmological inflation, cosmological perturbation theory, modified gravity models, quantum gravity phenomenology and semi-classical gravity. He is interested in both building and testing new theoretical extensions to standard models.

Talking about his future plans at IITB, he says that we are in Golden era of cosmology and Gravity. The observations help us acquire a wealth of new information about the early universe and the fundamental micro-physics that shaped it. It is thus crucial to find out how these observations can push the frontiers of our knowledge of gravity in original ways. He also says that India is a key player in many of the new mega projects that are coming up. He wants IITB to become a leader in the Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity.

Speaking on plans of engaging the students inside the class as well as interaction outside the class he says that for classes with strength less than 100, he usually makes groups of 8-10 student. All the assignments in the class are to be done together. He feels that this makes students learn and communicate better. Also, his lectures are divided into 3 slots of 15 minutes with 5 minutes in between for students to solve something in the class. He deliberately make mistakes in the calculation to see how many of them figure it out. According to him, students always feel excited if they can point mistake at the lecturer!

When asked about his interests, he likes to play badminton and cycle around the campus. He loves to spend some time learning about academic/research environments in different countries and study their pros and cons.