The Physics Maestro: Junaid Majeed Bhat
Feb 05, 2018 | Zakiya Ali
Hailing from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Junaid Majeed Bhat, a branch topper with a GPA of 9, recently bagged an All India Rank of 9 in the prestigious ‘The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- National Eligibility Test’ (CSIR-NET) in which most students pursuing basic sciences appear to get the position of Junior Research Fellow in the premier institutions of our country.
In the Computational Physics lab of the Department of Physics, Team Monday Morning engaged in a conversation with him regarding his exemplary achievements.
Born and brought up in Kashmir, his school teacher instilled in him the fervour for physics. Although his JEE score was good enough to get him into The Department of Computer Science and Engineering or Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, he was ardent to pursue a career in Physics. But since his JEE Advanced score was not good enough, so he was not offered a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT)s. Consequently, out of the three NITs offering Integrated. MSc. courses at that time, he decided upon choosing NIT Rourkela as it was the best in the lot. Thus, with the sole intention of gaining knowledge in the physics arena, Junaid entered NITR.
Gearing up for CSIR
Wanting to pursue a doctorate in Physics, he decided to take up CSIR NET. On asking about his preparation procedures, he replied by saying that he had not specifically prepared for an entrance. The questions of Paper-1 of the NET was General Aptitude for which he had done no prior preparations but for Paper-2, in which the questions were from the domain of Physical sciences, he referred to some standard books for core physics such as Goldstein for Classical Mechanics; J D Jackson for Electrodynamics; Sakurai, R Shankar, Griffith for Quantum Mechanics.
The class schedule was a bit of a hassle as he had to attend classes till 5:15 PM and then work in laboratories. Hence, time management was a problem that he faced. Since he is not a much-organized person, he did not make any stringent timetables or followed a strict schedule for preparations. Rather, he used to open books and start reading whenever he felt like it and whenever he did such, he was focussed and did it with utmost dedication.
Though Junaid did not follow any specific strategy for CSIR there is one specific thing that he implemented in his daily routine. Whenever he revised something, instead of reading it directly from the textbook, he generally tried recreating the concepts in his mind. This helped him gain better clarity of concepts as well as made him realise what he was forgetting. In his opinion, retrieval has a more profound impact than reading.
Is Formal coaching required?
Honestly, if you build your concepts with time, if you put in the requisite effort and study a little bit every day, you do not need any rigorous coaching or preparation for CSIR.
Much Needed Support?
After doing research on Open Quantum Systems and PT-symmetry optics in the summer of his third as well as the fourth year, under the guidance of Prof. Muzaffar Qadir Lone, Assistant professor, University of Kashmir, he decided to pursue the same as his final year project under the Prof Sanjay Datta at NITR. Since he was more inclined towards theoretical physics, he wanted to explore new arenas in it. Unfortunately, the dearth of Theoretical Physicists in comparison with experimental physicists kept him from it. For instance, there are professors working in higher energy physics and Quantum Optics but there is nobody working in General Relativity, String theory, Quantum Computation and so forth at NITR.
The Humble Soul
Considered a prodigy by many, yet bearing a humble demeanour, Junaid on being asked about his modest and self-effacing attitude replied,
Prophet Mohammed says, whoever bears even an atoms worth of kibr (pride) in his heart, will not enter Jannah (paradise).
In his final message to the readers, he urges them to study with the motive of learning something new and gaining experience rather than with the lone purpose of passing an exam. That is how one can educate themselves in the true sense of the word, believes Junaid.
Team Monday Morning wishes him success in all his future endeavours and hopes that he achieves great heights in his professional career.