Physicist A.K. Mohanty is BARC chief


Distinguished physicist and scientist Ajit Kumar Mohanty was appointed the new Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on Tuesday.

Mohanty, 60, who is Director of Physics Group at the BARC, took over his new assignment from K.N. Vyas, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Mohanty is also the Director of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata.

Born in Odisha in 1959, Mohanty completed his graduation in 1979 with honours in Physics from MPC College, Baripada, and his post-graduation in 1981 from the Ravenshaw College, Cuttack.

In 1983, he joined the BARC’s Nuclear Physics Division after graduating from the 26th batch of the BARC Training School. Simultaneously, Mohanty also completed his doctorate from the University of Mumbai.

In his 36 years at the BARC, Mohanty has worked in several areas of nuclear physics from collision energy to sub-Coulomb Barrier and relativistic regime, said an official.

He has also been a part of some path-breaking experiments at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US and the CERN in Geneva.

He has received several honours such as the Indian Physical Society’s ‘Young Scientists Award’, the Indian National Science Academy’s ‘Young Physicist Award’ and the DAE’s ‘Homi Bhabha Science & Technology Award’.

He has twice been conferred the honour of being the CERN Scientific Associate — in 2002-04 and in 2010-11.

At his takeover function, Mohanty expressed his gratitude towards his predecessors in the Physics Group who helped him understand the nuances of low and high energy nuclear physics.

He also acknowledged the efforts of senior scientists that helped him to contribute and complete projects of national and international importance.

As BARC Director, Mohanty said he was committed to continue the Centre’s work in the fields of societal importance and strive for excellence in basic and applied sciences research.