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Kriti Gupta

PhD scholar

IISER

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If you you wish to change something, STEM is the way!

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

Molecules and materials are interesting. The way humans behave differently with discrete sets of people in different environments/situations, materials and their functional groups too give a different response in different chemical environment around them. I like to study various materials by subjecting them to different physicochemical environments, particularly interested in the magnetic properties of semiconductors stemmimg from the spins embedded in the system. These spins interact with their neighbours to give a collective reponse which is altered by the environment surrounding them which includes the magnetic and electric fields and other electronic and/or magnetic foreign lattices as well.

 

To be specific, I grow kagome-like frustrated magnetic lattices over an electronic lattice of functionalized graphene resulting in the generation of fundamentally new class of magntic semiconductors and wish to tame the final repsonse of the material as per the requirements of modernized digital world.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

The first time I realized that I am interested in Science was in  9th standard where my science teacher from school was impressed by my level of understanding of the subject and the way I used to write 'precise and to the point answers'. Two years later, I was introduced to Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics as the major divisions of Science and I was naturally inclined towards Chemistry. 


I always used to question the things happening, looking for the underlying reasons like why are green plants so special and why their cycle of oxygen and carbon dioxide does not match with that of humans? How do non-green plants live, are they dependent on green ones likewise humans? How come the non-living atoms like C, H and N make living beings? I am a born thinker and eventually there was a stage in my life where all my answers always came from science resulting in my pursuance of science as and when the opportunity came.


Further interest in chemical processes from the 9th standard itself, like the evolution of CO2 while baking cakes required for them to be spongy, the process of bleaching and other fun experiments and observations in our day to day life and in the extra boxes of chemistry books always made me choose chemistry over other branches of science.


Additionally all my exceptionally great chemistry teachers (two from school and many from college) were all females which inspired me even more to continue chemistry.


Eventually I turned into research and realised in the very first year into it that this is what I want to continue for the rest of my life, enjoying myself and giving back to literature.


From my Bachelor's degree I used to find coordination chemistry more interesting than anything else and I was able to have my first research experience in coordination networks. On my first day of research (in life and in my Master's), my supervisor gave me two A4 sheets full of TOCs of various research topics aligned with his group's research interest which also had spincrossover coordination complexes in them, that day I decided someday I will give enough time to understand magnetism as it is something mysterious and very simplified to me at the same time. In my Master's, I never worked on magnetism however in my PhD, mjority of my work was directly related to magnetism and thus I decided that magnetism in coordination networks is something I really want to work on.

Altogether, I believe that this field chose me.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

There were only some minor roadblocks for me on my way such as financial issues and gender bias, however I was able to overcome both. The financial issue came up right after the end of my Bachelor's degree, after which I was able to secure a position in MAster's alongwith some fellowship which continued till the end of my Phd. At present, I am looking for post-doctoral positions and I am confident that soon enough I will secure a position for myself.


For the gender bais, my parents were always a very strong support for me and they helped to grow into someone mentally  strong.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

There is nothing that I would wish younger me would have known. Not a single thing. This thought really makes me happy many-a-times and is all the motivation I need.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

Ideas are bulletproof. In STEM, it seldom happens that I am judged for my age, gender, birth place or my personal choices. There are instances where only my work speaks for me and there is no wish unfulfilled after this.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

If you you wish to change something, STEM is the way!

INSPIRATION

They said, a girl with dreams will be a woman with vision.