19-yr-old student's paper makes it to European physics journal | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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19-yr-old student's paper makes it to European physics journal

Shilpi Singh was always considered a bit odd in her school in Patna. While all the other girls spoke about creams and lotions, Singh spent her time solving all the math problems she could find.

mumbai Updated: Oct 15, 2011 02:07 IST
Kiran Wadhwa

Shilpi Singh was always considered a bit odd in her school in Patna. While all the other girls spoke about creams and lotions, Singh spent her time solving all the math problems she could find.

Today, at 19, Singh is among the few undergraduate students whose research papers have been published in prestigious international science journals. Singh's paper, 'Approximate approaches to the one-dimensional finite potential well' was accepted by the European Journal of Physics last week. "I was always inclined towards a career in research. I got into the National Institute of Technology for Engineering but opted for a five year integrated MSc course in physics," said the student of the Centre of Basic Sciences at the University of Mumbai campus in Kalina. The five-year-old centre is a collaboration between the university and the department of atomic energy. Singh is one of their first undergraduate students to have her research paper published.

"While it is not unheard of, an undergraduate making it to such a reputable journal is rare," said Vijay Singh, who guided Singh and is the national coordinator of the science Olympiads at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education.

"Shilpi has taken a new approach to an old problem of understanding an electron in a confined space or nanostructure. Her paper shows that electrons in a nanostructure linger longer at the boundary as a result of which they interact with external parasitic molecules like an animal that will interact with humans if it is at the edge of its cage. So, if we create a device using a nanostructure it is likely to degrade, which is why this work is relevant," added Vijay.

Singh is part of the National Initiative on Undergraduate Science where a batch of students is selected and nurtured for two years.

Singh's parents are excited about her publication. Her father works in the government's agriculture department and her mother is a housewife. "My parents are proud of my career choice although a lot of people back home find it unusual."