The Elemental Voyage- Department of Chemistry
Sriniketh Shankar | Jun 10, 2019
Chemistry is a fundamental branch of science and is of monumental importance when it comes to research and progress. It’s a huge subject and has applications in various fields starting from energy production to the pharmaceutical industry. It forms an integral part of any research project as the fundamental science behind any material and its applications are analyzed using chemistry only. As it is more of a research-oriented subject, the curriculum is designed in such a way that promotes the idea of research and inculcates the tendency to pursue research among the students. The department also promises to help the students gain exposure and a strong fundamental knowledge using advanced laboratory equipment. It also aims to polish the students with the skills required to succeed in research projects, the chemical industry or professional schools.
The department provides a five-year Integrated M.Sc course with students applying through JEE Mains examination, Two-year M.Sc program with admission through JAM, PhD and M.Tech(Research) program with admission through NITR’s selection procedure.
Team MM had the opportunity to catch up with Professor Priyabrat Dash, the faculty advisor for the first year students at the department of chemistry. We had a friendly conversation regarding the department of chemistry in brief.
VISION OF THE DEPARTMENT:
The main aim of the department is to do quality research and publish high-quality research papers in journals of worldwide recognition. The department has a strength of 20 faculty members. For the past 5-6 years, the department has been successful in publishing research papers in journals of national and international importance like Wiley, RSC, Elsevier, etc. Some journals have also acclaimed the Chemistry department of NIT Rourkela and have stated that the research done here is better than some of the new IITs, which is a commendable achievement in itself. Excelling in both teaching and research and becoming a department of national and international recognition is what drives every student and faculty in this department. Contributions to all domains of chemistry by publishing high impact journals are the main aim.
As a pure science department, it is a common tendency of the students to take up further research after completing their masters in either reputed National Institutes such as IISERs and IITs or in foreign universities. In recent years, big names in JEE coaching such as FIITJEE have also been recruiting students from the Chemistry department. Other private pharmaceutical companies also conduct recruitment drives in search of chemists. The students who are not interested in any of the above opportunities, a considerable amount of students had chosen PSUs, Civil Services and other Government jobs.
In addition, the students from this department have been doing internships in prestigious foreign universities through the MITACS program in Canada and other universities in Europe. Six students from this department have made it to Canada in the present academic year, which is a commendable act in itself.
Research forms a vital part of this department as stated above. The department undertakes national sponsored projects from SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board), DST (Department of Science & Technology), CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) and DBT (Department of Biotechnology).
The Department of Chemistry at NIT Rourkela, over a period of time, has acquired many advanced analytical types of equipment such as NMR, ESI Mass spectrometer, surface area analyzer, FTIR, UV-Vis, HPLC, Potentiostat/galvanostat, Fluorescence spectrometer, etc. The current research focus of the department includes Environmental Chemistry, Organic synthesis, Natural products, Organometallics, Metal Clusters, Nanomaterials, Organic-Inorganic Hybrid materials, coordination chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Catalysis, Spectroscopy, and Nano-Biomaterials.
As Prof. Dash had been a core member of the curriculum committee of the department and the whole institute, it was convenient for MM to gain insight into the curriculum design and its aspects. The curriculum had been revised 4 times recently and that too in an efficient manner. The committee consisted of Industry leading experts from across India, acclaimed researchers from National laboratories and other people who are experts in various domains of chemistry. The curriculum was specifically designed with the help of all these experts so that it provides a strong foundation in basic chemistry and also is relevant for the students interested in writing National Level Examinations in the future. Equal emphasis is given on all domains of chemistry so that the students gain knowledge in every field related to chemistry and have a wide range of choices to choose from for their careers.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE DEPARTMENT:
The institute had been providing the department with sufficient funds till a large extent, but since better quality research demands more funds, this has been a setback for this department. As the experiments also use up a lot of consumables, more funding is always required. This has been the one and the only issue faced by the department according to the professor.
MESSAGE TO THE ASPIRANTS:
According to Prof.Dash,
The Chemistry Department of NITR is well established and has highly talented faculty members who hold PhDs from reputed national and international institutes. The department has also given great results in the areas of research papers, foreign admissions, sponsored government, and private projects, and is an excellent option for students who are passionate about chemistry.