I am honoured to receive MAC's Young Scientist Award. I thank the people who took their time to nominate me and the MAC selection committee for choosing me for this award.
Like the three wise men, my journey began in the East and continued towards the West with stops along the way. I started from India and stopped in the Middle East, where I picked-up my B. Sc. and M. Sc. degrees. I learnt some Mineralogy and Crystallography with my advisor Ishmael Hassan. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, so I wanted to make my diamonds. So, I head off West into the high Pressure-Temperature world of Stony Brook. I did not get my diamonds, but I used diamonds in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) to squeeze some minerals.
At Stony Brook, I worked with wonderful scientists like Jiuhua Chen, Baosheng Li, Jennifer Kung, and others. From my Ph. D. advisor John Parise, I learned about diffraction and scattering techniques under different PT conditions. It was great to work with Don Lindsley to synthesize minerals and determine their composition. Rich Reeder showed a keen interest in my work on carbonates. Don Weidner took me to my first synchrotron experiment at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory, to use a multi-anvil press. I thought it was going to be a regular 9-5 working day. My first experiment took 50 sleepless hours - welcome to beamline work! For me, that is when minerals and diamonds lost their (jewellery) value.
Bob Liebermann recognized some excellent results we got on spinels and directed me towards high-temperature ultrasonic interferometry with Ian Jackson at Australian National University (ANU), a diversion in my journey to the West. ANU had a relaxing atmosphere with regular morning and afternoon tea. You can also enjoy a glass of wine at lunch time under the trees on campus, and many do! I also spent some time at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France, where we had to live on cheese sandwiches to survive the odd working hours and even give up a tour of Paris because beamtime is precious!
After New York, I continued my journey westward to the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Illinois. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at APS, I was a team member that commissioned a high-resolution powder X-ray diffraction (HRPXRD) beamline. In my group at APS, we had excellent scientists like Bob VonDreele, Peter Lee, Dean Haeffner, Chris Benmore, Brian Toby, my advisor, and others.
Coming from the East where the sun rises, my journey continued further West to the University of Calgary, where I am enjoying my sun sets. The three wise men followed a star, so I, probably, followed the Northern Lights. At UofC, I have wonderful colleagues: Ed Ghent, Jim Nicholls, to mention a few, are always there to discuss various aspects of science.
I thank my advisors and collaborators for their contributions. I thank my family for their support and encouragement. I'll treasure this award and keep it safe, probably, under deep-earth conditions.
Thank you for listening.