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In Stanford’s Most Cited Scientists List, Son of a Bengal Farmer

Dr Das has studied all his life in government institutions and holds a PhD in the subject of nanofluids. 

Updated
Education
3 min read
Dr Das has studied all his life in government institutions and holds a PhD in the subject area of nanofluids. 
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When a fellow lecturer from the University of Burdwan dropped an early morning message that read ‘congratulations,’ Mathematics Professor Dr Kalidas Das was left rather confused.

After all, the 50-year-old professor from Krishnagar Government College – around 106 kilometres north of Kolkata – wasn’t expecting to have his name featured in the list of the world’s top 2 percent most-cited scientists, compiled by Stanford University in California, US.

However, much to his surprise, Dr Das was duly elated after discovering that his name had featured in the list along with around 1,492 scientists, doctors and engineers from India.

In fact, even before the excitement could settle in, Dr Das received an offer from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.

“Following the news of my name appearing in the list, I got a call from someone in IISC Bengaluru, asking if I would like to collaborate with them. But, I haven’t decided on it.”
Dr Kalidas Das

A Life Spent in Government Institutions

Born to a farmer couple in a village near Ranaghat of West Bengal’s Nadia district, Dr Das always wanted to be a teacher. “But exactly what I would learn and thereby teach, I had absolutely no idea,” he said.

Dr Das receiving an award at convocation ceremony (1989) for securing first-class  in B.Sc.
Dr Das receiving an award at convocation ceremony (1989) for securing first-class in B.Sc.
(Photo: The Quint)

Throughout his life, Dr Das studied at government institutions – first at Dr Shyamaprasad High School in Dhantala till Class 10 and then at Nasra High School, near Ranaghat, for Class 11 and 12.

Unlike many other students, Dr Das never liked Arts subjects in school, and would often not score good in them. While he was interested in Science, it was his love for math that made him choose the subject both in UG and PG.

Dr Das then went to the University of Kalyani, where he first pursued B.Sc in Mathematics, then M.Sc in Applied Mathematics. Interestingly, Das was the class topper both in undergrad and postgrad. 
A picture of Das from his early college days. 
A picture of Das from his early college days. 
(Photo: The Quint)

But he didn’t start off as a college professor immediately and worked in schools for about three years, before enrolling for Ph.D at the University of Kalyani, under the mentorship of DC Sanyal.

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Dr Das’ Tryst With Nanofluids

Dr Das, who has written extensive research papers on nanofluids, completed his Ph.D in the area of Magnetohydrodynamics, which is a special branch of fluid mechanics. His doctoral thesis examined the effect of magnetic field on the flow of fluids.

“Assume the fluid in question is human blood. If magnetic field is applied extremally, it can control the blood flow in arteries and veins. If there’s a clog or blockage, by increasing blood flow using the magnetic field, it can be reduced.”
Dr Kalidas Das

Ever since, Dr Das has authored and co-authored around 94 research papers, which have now been scanned by Stanford.

Dr Das says that the concept of nanofluids is so minute and detailed that it could even divide a strand of hair into 1,00,000 parts, where each part will be considered a Nano unit.

Dr Das, receiving Shiksha Ratna award, 2019  from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Dr Das, receiving Shiksha Ratna award, 2019 from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
(Photo: The Quint)

Taking the use of nanofluids in everyday life and machinery, Dr Das explains that modern day coolants are nothing but distilled water blended with nano particles of good conductor metals like copper, which quickly absorb heat, thereby cooling the object around which it moves.

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Need More Government Funds

Dr Das has received many offers to teach at foreign institutions and universities, but has so far shied away from many of them owing to the complex process of securing permission from the state’s higher education department and subsequently the Union Ministry of Education.

He feels that his concepts could have been better applied had he studied at an institution with high-end resources.

“There is a growing need for greater spending on education. Not only in research, but right from the under graduate level. Both states and Centre have to increase their spending on education.”
Dr Kalidas Das

Besides this, Dr Das says that both sets of governments must increase grants for high-level research projects, which will aid scientists in producing high-quality research.

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