January 11, 2011
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham will soon initiate an interdisciplinary science program in partnership with the University of New Mexico, U.S. This decision was finalized during the recent five-day visit of a senior professor from the U.S. university to the Amrita campuses.
Dr. V. M. Nitant Kenkre, who currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Physics at the U.S. university, also leads its Consortium of the Americas for Interdisciplinary Science. A Ph.D. in Physics from SUNY, Stony Brook, Dr. Kenkre earned his undergraduate degree in India at IIT Bombay.
Visiting Amrita’s Coimbatore campus first, Dr. Kenkre accepted an invitation to speak to faculty members and graduate students on theoretical physics. His talk titled Quantum Coherence in Quasiparticle Motion: From Photosynthesis to Photocopiers discussed transport of excitons by the dipole interaction mechanism, highlighting the problem of quantum transport and mathematical modeling for photosynthesis.
Using the example of mathematical modeling of the spread of epidemics around the globe, Dr. Kenkre demonstrated how concepts in physics could assist biology.
“The concept of interdisciplinary science was elucidated in a very simple and interesting manner by Dr. Kenkre,” stated Dr. T. G. Satheesh, who teaches at the Department of Sciences in Coimbatore.
“We learned how a physicist could contribute his knowledge to prevent epidemics,” he added.
Dr. Kenkre also conducted discussions with faculty members to implement joint and interdisciplinary research activities on many fronts.
Impressed with the advanced research and development at Amrita, despite it being such a young institution, Dr. Kenkre especially conveyed his appreciation for the implementation of renewable energy projects on campus.
A visit to Amrita’s Health Sciences campus at Kochi followed next, where Dr. Kenkre spoke about Spread of Epidemics, focusing on the Hanta virus that infects both mice and humans.
Finally, visiting the Amritapuri campus, Dr. Kenkre spoke about the Consortium at his institution, discussing various research areas that could benefit from collaboration with Amrita.
Visiting the research groups at this campus, he interacted with research scholars, providing methods to improvise research techniques and expressed the need for student project development in collaboration with the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Kenkre also had the opportunity to meet Chancellor Amma during his visit.