Guest #5: A Scientist – A Colourful Diary


The Scientist Post takes full pride in hosting, Dr. Subhajit Bandyopadhyay , one of India’s brightest scientist, a Chemist at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Kolkata. So far, he had been to, in different capacities in some of the most awe-inspiring places in the ever-expanding universe: in the likes of …Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Columbia University in New York, United States of America; University of Cambridge, UK; followed by his current stint in IISER Kolkata. In an exclusive talk, Dr. Bandyopadhyay speaks with The Scientist Post about his inspirations, dreams and amazing days of schooling. As as optimistic Indian, he wish an India 2030 to be a prosperous nation, a global leader in research, innovation, economy and human rights.

Catch him more….!

TSP: How were your educational experiences as a student during school days?

SB: “I went to an all-boys school where many of teachers were my father’s friends. Therefore, being naughty in the school was a tough job for me – but I always had my ways.”

TSP: What are your most memorable events/incidents in the past which makes you laugh even today?

SB: “I made a prank call to a colleague and tried to sell him some instruments at an unbelievable price”

TSP: Who is the teacher you like and mattered the most? How did they make a profound impact on you?

SB: “There are quite a few. I had an English teacher (he was also my dad’s teacher) who left a long lasting impression on my thought process. He introduced me to Indian and Western philosophy just by chatting with me. We went out for walks and that is where I got some of the most brilliant discourses from him. I realized that it is the scientific temperament, rational and critical thinking that matters the most. I also learnt from him that grades do not always measure your capabilities.
I will also list the names of some of the great teachers who taught me various things:
Prof. H Junjappa: Being creative with limited resources
Prof. Nick Turro: Teaching complicated subject in a simple fashion
Prof. Tom Fyles: Critical thinking and creating a non-condescending atmosphere in a class
Prof. Reg Mitchell: To admit my limitations
Prof. Ron Breslow: Humour and in-depth analysis
Poet Rabindranath Tagore: Teaching philosophy (through his writings)”

TSP: How science fascinated you? Have you ever-wondered to be a researcher during your childhood days? What inspired you to enter this field and why? Was there a particular reason behind which/who motivated you?

SB: “I guess I answered a part of this question in the previous answer. I was always fascinated by the colours and the change of colour in the chemistry experiments. Perhaps, that is why I was drawn to the field of photochromism.”

TSP: How has been your experience in your research/teaching field? Could you please describe in brief about your research activities?

SB: “I love both teaching and research. They are mutually complementary to each other. I have started undergrad level teaching from my MSc days. I also volunteered to teach the underprivileged kids. I have always had wonderful students, and today, when I see such initiatives by my own students, I feel very proud of them.
Using photo-switchable molecules, we can achieve certain functions by the molecules by giving them commands with light of different colours. In a nutshell, this is what we do in our lab. Check out our website for more details.”

TSP: What are the things which motivate and inspire you?

SB: ” Nature. Nature is our greatest teacher and inspiration. Our old teacher Ron Breslow at Columbia University, who has always been a mentor-father to me, once said that the inspiration for the aeroplane came from birds. Of course that does not mean that an aeroplane flutters the wing like a bird.

TSP: Recently, Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian, who was behind the public attention among many citizens, won the Nobel peace Prize 2014, has been playing instrumental role in child rights. What are your views about him?

SB:”I am embarrassed to admit that I had not heard of him before the Nobel Prize was announced last year. I think this recognition is meant for all who works uncompromisingly in protecting the child rights.”

TSP: In your opinion what does India need to do to ensure all children are in school and implementing successfully the Right to Education Act?

SB: “India needs to make everyone aware of the need for education and their benefits. The government might create a lot of opportunities for the citizen – but a program can only be successful by mutual participation.
You can put a glass of milk in front of a child. He will only drink if he is convinced that it is going to be beneficial to him.”

TSP: Who in the world today would you describe as inspirational?

SB: “Bill Gates.”

TSP: What is your success Mantra?

SB: “Keeping balance in life is my mantra.”

TSP: How do you see India 2030?

SB: “A prosperous nation, a global leader in research, innovation, economy and human rights.”

One thing which I wish to see, change and bring a difference in India is our attitude towards each other. We should all be mutually respectful. That would solve almost all our problems.”

TSP: And, your final comments about our endeavor The Scientist Post ?

SB: “You guys are doing a great job. Get some more publicity. Let more people know about you vision and mission.”

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