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Student Profile: Avinash Kumar
Physics doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I am an experimental physicist, and my primary research focus is on nonequilibrium thermodynamics. I completed my Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. John Bechhoefer in the Department of Physics. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale School of Medicine, USA. I grew up in India and received a BS-MS degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata. I am an enthusiastic person who is always ready to tackle new problems and challenges. I am always open to learning anything from anyone, be it a research technique or a new food recipe.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
During my undergraduate studies, I was exposed to soft matter experiments. I loved the experiments I did for my thesis. I was fascinated by how light interacts with matter and unravel the mysteries hidden at microscopic levels. It was clear in my mind that I wanted to learn about biophysics. The physics department in SFU has an excellent group of biophysicists. I wanted to do experiments, and the Physics department had a couple of very good biophysics labs. The key reason for joining SFU is my Ph.D. supervisor’s welcome letter that came within few minutes of receiving SFU’s offer letter. That very letter impressed and convinced me to join SFU. The secondary reason is definitely the culture of Canada. So, SFU was also an opportunity to visit Canada and stay with lovely people.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
Generally, a warm container of water freezes faster than a hot container of water. But, anecdotal evidence suggests that hot water could freeze faster than warm water. The underlying mechanism is a mystery to date and is often believed to be an artifact. I do experiments on colloidal particles to demonstrate that these effects are not just a scientific curiosity but are real. Moreover, my experiments also give insights into how this effect may occur in water and other physical systems.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I particularly enjoy the regular interaction with my supervisor regarding my research work. The work atmosphere in the lab is very inspiring. Whenever I had a bad day at work, I used to take a walk on the campus, and the trick always worked to fix my mood. Outside lab, my fellow students, professors and the department staff are very friendly and always available to offer help. Overall, SFU provided a peaceful and cooperative working environment.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I received Billy Jones Grad Award in Physics. I was fortunate to receive this award when I finished my research work and prepared to write my Ph.D. thesis. The award bought me time which I utilized to write my thesis and research articles.