Interview with Dr. Ghanshyam
Professor and Training Placement Officer
BIT Sindri, Dhanbad, Jharkhand
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us.
After obtaining a B.Sc.(Hons) degree in Physics from St Xavier’s College, Ranchi, I joined the Centre for advanced research in physics and astrophysics, University of Delhi (1985-1987) to pursue M. Sc in Space Physics. I got admission in the Ph.D. program at IIT Delhi in Plasma Physics on the basis of my GATE score in 1987. I also qualified CSIR-NET JRF in 1989 and was selected as a Scientist B in DRDO but I chose to remain at IIT Delhi for my doctorate. Upon its completion, I received a Ph.D. degree in Plasma Physics in 1994.
Further, I had worked as a Senior Scientific Officer II in project while pursuing my Ph D. I joined the reputed KNPG government college, UP on the recommendation of Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission in April, 1995 as a lecturer and I served there before moving to
Magadh University in December, 1996.
Later down the line, I joined BIT Sindri on the recommendation of Bihar Public Commission in 1997 as an assistant professor. At the institute, I was entitled to teach a multitude of courses and guide the B.Tech as well as Ph.D. students. Additionally, I authored a book while serving and actively participated in more than 100 national and international conferences along with webinars and meanwhile, I pursued my independent research in plasma physics.
I also published research papers and received an array of awards for my academic excellence. Currently, I am working as the Dean, Alumni Affairs and the Training & placement officer(TPO), BIT Sindri. With these two major responsibilities, I am also teaching as a Professor in the Department of Physics in the campus.
While serving my tenure at BIT, I vigorously participated in a wide range of socio-educational activities in order to contribute my bit to the upliftment of the underprivileged sections of our society because I find it pivotal to devote efforts in this direction along with the regular assignments in the professional realm. This precisely sums up the path of my professional journey until now and the education I have received.
Q2. What did attract you towards teaching instead of any corporate job?
I strongly believe that I am inclined towards teaching rather than a corporate job because of the value addition I am responsible to bring as a mentor and a guide. As a teacher, I strive to bring about a difference in lives which righteously penetrates deeper than the knowledge imparted by any book.
We live to inspire, support, mentor while getting the chance to discover and share some of the best parts of ourselves as human beings. The teacher-student relationship goes a long way, and I wish to continue traversing the journey in this prized domain. The pedagogy is equally challenging and I would safely say, It brings out the best in me as well.
Q3. You are a Professor as well as the Training and Placement Officer (TPO) cum Dean Alumni Affairs, BIT Sindri. How do you manage to serve multiple roles simultaneously in your professional life?
The decision to integrate or separate roles hinges entirely on one’s personal preference and the ability to manage our roles and boundaries based on our preference of integration or separation is the key to minimizing conflict and stress. I firmly believe that teachers need to realise that they serve a very noble profession and the different responsibilities they shoulder are crucial for they concern other lives along with their own.
To manage the roles simultaneously, one needs to ponder independently over each of them and identify their key behavioral traits. I can go about claiming that I am a professor which essentially implies that I am entitled to teach and guide students, engage in extensive research, author scientific articles and books. But, it is worth more significance for me to think about what I primarily need to do to become a teacher and excel in the same.
You see, a simple change in the phrase captures the difference, that being, I am a teacher versus I am being a teacher. When I envision myself with the thought of “being a teacher”, I begin to think about the behaviors and duties I engage in, as a routine.
To be successful as a teacher, I should be mentoring students, connecting with students, researching my subject and my teaching methodologies, reading other material, laying out the concept for an article, managing time each day to read and write, and along with these I need to be working with students and stakeholders on an individual level.
By laying down the behavioral responsibilities associated with each role (In my context, this refers to serving as a teacher, a mentor, a Training and Placement Officer and the Dean(Alumni Affairs) and bringing transforms as a human being), we can determine if we are focusing on the right activities at the right instant.
Sometimes, success means staying in the moment for our roles and focusing on the activities that we must practise for that particular role. We may need to shift our own stereotypes and expectations regarding appropriate role behavior and that is completely justified. In the nutshell, we need to manage each of our roles based on our personal motivation, energy, resources, and expectations.
Q4. What was the topic of your thesis in Ph.D.? Can you please enlighten us about it?
‘Self-Focusing and Filamentation of Electromagnetic waves and their consequences in Plasmas (Plasma Physics)’ has been the idea governing my thesis while pursuing Ph.D.
Self-focusing and filamentation instability of electromagnetic waves are important nonlinear processes in laboratory and space plasmas. They are relevant to laser driven fusion, rf-heating of tokamak, ionospheric propagation of radio waves, wake-field accelerator and numerous other areas. They could significantly influence stimulating scattering and absorption processes as well. My research was devoted to a theoretical study of self-focusing and filamentation of electromagnetic waves and their consequences in plasmas.
In contrast to the earlier studies on filamentation which consider the conditions for the growth of the filamentation for Gaussian beams, the dynamics of growth of a spike on a Gaussian radio waves in the lower ionosphere have been analyzed. The important conclusion is that the focusing of the ripple is determined by the parameters of the ripple as well as that of the main beam. Self-focussing and filamentation of laser beams in collisional plasma with finite thermal conduction have been studied.
Q5. How do you help your students in their efforts to excel in their academics and career?
I believe in creating and nurturing a rigorous learning environment that promotes my students’ intellectual curiosity and creativity. My objective is that each and every student should learn to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. These skills go a very long way as they advance in their respective careers. In addition to this, I always motivate my students to engage in team building and leadership activities as these interpersonal skills become pivotal for their advancement.
They are guided on how to work together in groups through their academic classes, and the innovative inquiry-based courses we call Projects and Workshops. To meet the diverse needs of the students, I always used a variety of instructional practices and assessments. The environment, the visual and performing arts, global studies, and student voice are infused into my classes. This unique pedagogy helps me establish a connection with my students, a bond that goes beyond the classroom. I always try to be there for resolving their queries, listening to their apprehensions and providing guidance in every walk of their lives.
Q6. Tell us about one of the moments which changed your perspective towards life.
I can vouch that my whole life changed when I took a trip to Shanti Kunj, Haridwar in 1988, where I met Guru Pandit Shriram Sharma (Acharya ji), who took me down the path of true spirituality. It was then that I decided on leaving the job of a scientist at DRDO and dedicated my life to teaching. It has been an incident deeply etched in my memory.
Q7. Which is the one skill you admire the most about yourself?
Above everything else, I ascertain that my critical thinking ability is certainly the skill I personally admire the most about myself. It has helped me deal with the trickiest of situations and this is certainly a muss-possess for every individual committed to excellence.
Q8. What are your expectations from your students?
My expectations from my students are not limited to grades or academic proficiency. I want them to continually grow as individuals, in every sphere of their existence. I expect them to learn to strike a balance between their academics, their career, their hobbies and the relationships that they nurture through the course of life since these put together, determine the quotient of stability and happiness in an individual life. I encourage them to strive to grow each day, bit by bit and ultimately vanquish all the milestones.
Q9. What do you want to achieve in your life?
I will rather not flaunt about having unrealistic ambitions but rather, mention that I wish to stay the laborious and dedicated person. I wish to traverse this staircase being a more efficient teacher and a human in general. I simply aim to lead a fit and happy life with my family and my beloved students. This happens to be my minimalistic and pragmatic set of aspirations from myself.