Scaling New Horizons: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Scaling New Horizons: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Siddharth Kumar Bastia | Oct 05, 2020

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The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, established in 2013, has grown exponentially in the short span of six years. The student intake has increased manifold, the number of sponsored projects have risen considerably and the department has been making giant leaps in the fields of research. In this article, we will take a look at the overview of the department.

Purpose of Establishment

The department was established to fulfil the following purposes:

  1. To carry out cutting-edge research in the fields of Earth and Atmospheric Science with the emphasis on application to geological perspective, atmospheric modelling, and measurements.
  2. To provide education in the field of Earth and Atmospheric Science with an eye on strong fundamentals, research aptitude, devotion to the profession, and high ethical standards.
  3. To be recognized as a seat of higher learning in the fields of Earth and Atmospheric Science and provider of superior human resources to major national agencies engaged in exploration & exploitation of mineral and energy resources and prediction of weather, climate and natural hazards for disaster mitigation.

Programs Offered

  1. Two Year  M.Sc Program with Applied Geology as the specialization 
  2. Two Year M.Sc Program with Atmospheric Sciences as the specialization 
  3. Two Year M.Tech Program with Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences as the specialization 
  4. P.hD and Executive P.hD Program 

Faculty Situation

The department is currently operating on ten faculty members all of whom are PhD holders. The faculty members have shown their mettle time and again collecting accolades such as:

  1. Professor Dr. SK Md.  Equeenudin received the Young Scientist Award in 2017 from the Indian National Committee of International Association of Hydrogeologists for his work on Ground Water Studies. 
  2. Professor Dr. Bhaskar Kundu received the NITRAA Research Excellence Award In 2019 from NIT Rourkela Alumni Association.
  3. Professor Dr. Jagabandhu Panda received the Best Paper Publication award in atmospheric sciences from the Indian society of remote sensing.

However as mentioned by Dr Bhaskar Kundu, Head Of the Department, the student-to-faculty ratio of 18 is certainly a concerning issue and more faculties should be recruited to reduce the teaching load on each faculty hence resulting in a much better student-faculty interaction.

Research Scenario

This is one area where the department has exceeded expectations and has done very well for the past few years with the tools at their disposal. The students and the faculties have been researching key issues concerning society like:

  1. Geochemistry
  2. Krustal Evolution
  3. Plate Tectonics
  4. Air and Water pollution
  5. Climate modelling

The department has also bagged 17 sponsored projects from the likes of ISRO, Department of Science and Technology, etc amounting to total funding of approximately 6 crore rupees and 6 consultancy projects as well. With national collaborations with the likes of ISRO, Ministry Of Earth Sciences , IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Bombay to name a few, and international collaborations with Michigan Technological University(USA), University Of Georgia (USA), Purdue University(USA), University Of California, Berkeley (USA) etc the research output is only going to get better down the line.

Placement and Higher Education

The placement stats for the past year leave a lot to be desired as only  5 students were placed with the median salary being in the 7-8 LPA region. As far as higher studies are concerned, the situation is much more promising as in the past year 54 students qualified GATE and 8 students qualified for the CSR-NET entrance examination with Soumya Ranjan Mallick acing GATE by securing an All India Rank of 2. 6 graduates from the department are pursuing higher studies internationally.

Challenges faced by the department

The fact that the department has taken giant leaps is undeniable but that has not been easy and there have been difficulties all along the way. The following are the challenges that the department is currently facing according to the Head of the Department, Dr Bhaskar Kundu-

  1. Lack of an adequate number of faculty members
  2. Lack of state of the art of laboratory and adequate research facilities
  3. Lack of sufficient space in the department for accommodating all the students and the faculties together.
  4. The Placement statistics have not been upto the mark.

From The HoD's Desk

When asked about his vision for the department and his message to the future aspirants, Head of Department Dr Bhaskar Kundu had the following to say:

I am very proud of the excellent research work undertaken by the students and my fellow faculties. We are  part of a young department which has shown considerable growth for the past six years, and we are doing our best to take the department to even greater heights. We have created a reputation for ourselves as I have noticed some students choosing our department over young IITs which is a very commendable achievement for us. To all the future aspirants I would like to say we are doing  impactful research here which is society-oriented so if you are interested in doing something useful for the society,and find joy in research you will find yourself at home here.

Team Monday Morning wishes the Department Of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences the best of luck in all their future endeavours.  

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