#TCAFG (The Coarse And Fine Grained, February 02, 2020):

How do you like your Matcha? Why do fine and coarse materials behave very differently? Is surface texture usually a sign of sub-structures? How does rock become clay? Is dry clay enough to understand wet clay? Could tea be smoked? Is it simple to keep every spoonful of your morning cereal mix similar? Do pure dry solids ‘flow’ in layers and parts? Is soil a definitive sign of life? How are dust and coarse-leaf teas different? Does mechanical agitation organize matter differently from Brownian motion? How/why does swelling happen? Can mechanical grinding lead to fine structural (chemistry) changes? Does fineness evolve life ‘around’ it by offering its ample ‘surface area’? What is a tea bag? Would you be able to easily tell (moving) life & non-life apart under a microscope? Could microbes induce life into fine matter? How does refinement happen? Why do water drops jump to contact when brought close together? What flocks? What ‘flocs’? What lies ahead? Would we deploy small active rotors & ‘swimmers’ to change materials? &, will we one day understand the fundamental physics of all open pattern-forming systems? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from active matter physics (Prof. Sriram Ramaswamy, IISc, Bangalore), geotechnical engineering (Prof. D. N. Singh, IIT Bombay, Mumbai), & chemical engineering (Prof. Gurmeet Singh, Trans-Disciplinary University, Bangalore).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TCAFG show.

Prof. Sriram Ramaswamy (active matter physics) is Homi Bhabha Chair Professor and J. C. Bose National Fellow at the Centre for Condensed Matter Theory, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore. His research interests are non-equilibrium, soft-matter and biological physics. Prof. Ramaswamy completed his B.S. (Physics) from University of Maryland, College Park (1977), and his Ph.D. (Physics) from University of Chicago (1983). He directed the TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (Hyderabad, 2012-2016). His research has helped to found the field of Active Matter, which studies the collective behaviour of self-propelled particles, from motor proteins inside a single living cell to schools of fish in the ocean. With his then Ph.D. student Aditi Simha he constructed the theory of fluids made of swimming organisms. His experimentalist colleagues and he have created flocks of self-propelling particles in simple artificial systems. His research has been published in the leading journals in his field. Prof. Ramaswamy was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2016. The awards he has received include the Infosys Prize for the Physical Sciences (2011) and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for the Physical Sciences (2000). He has also been elected Fellow of all the three National Science Academies of India (INSA, NASI, IAS), and of the American Physical Society.

Prof. D. N. Singh (geotechnical engineering) is the Institute Chair Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, Mumbai. Before joining IIT Bombay, he has served at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, and IIT Kharagpur. His research interests are in the domain of geotechnical engineering in areas, such as, soil mechanics, foundation engineering, environmental geotechnology, mechanics of unsaturated soils, soil characterization based on thermal and electrical properties, contaminant transport in porous media, mineralogical characterization, utilization and recycling of industrial waste, geotechnical centrifuge modeling, etc. Prof. Singh obtained his B.Tech. (Civil Engineering), M.Tech., and Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering, from IIT Kanpur in 1986, 1989 and 1993, respectively. He has published 200+ technical articles in refereed journals, and has filed 29 patents out of which, 7 (including 1 US) patents have been granted. Prof. Singh has also founded the journal, Environmental Geotechnics (published by ICE Publishing, London) and has been its editor-in-chief since inception. He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE, New Delhi), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), & Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE, London, UK). He has received multiple awards, including, the 2018 Canadian Geotechnical Journal Fredlund Award, Prof. S. P. Sukhatme Award for Excellence in Teaching (2017, IIT Bombay), Richard Feynman Prize (2014, ICE Journal), and also the John R. Booker Excellence Award (2011, IACMAG, International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics).

Prof. Gurmeet Singh (chemical engineering) is Professor & Head, Center for Ayurveda Biology & Holistic Nutrition, The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences & Technology, Bangalore. He is also the founder of Bev-Science Private Limited, a knowledge based tea company. His research interests are in areas of tea, nutrition, food processing and engineering, fermentation, biochemical engineering, bioprocess development, & tissue culture. Prof. Singh completed his B. Tech. (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Delhi (1989). He then went to Penn State University, USA, to complete his M.S. (1992) & Ph.D. (1995) in Chemical Engineering. He has spent nearly 25 years working in FMCG domain with companies such as Unilever (1998-2018) where he created proprietary technology and helped take bench-scale inventions to factory scale. As part of leading the tea process science in Unilever R&D, Prof. Singh developed new drying, separations and fermentation processes and re-invented a 100-year old tea process for delivery of higher colour, taste, aroma and health actives. He has filed close to 25 patents, and his research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as: Journal of Food Science & Technology, International Journal of Food Engineering, International Journal of Tea Science, & Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Prof. Singh has also taught as an Adjunct Faculty at the National Institute For Advanced Studies (NIAS, Bangalore), and as a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM, Bangalore).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TCAFG mentions: Robert Brown, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, & Johannes Diderik van der Waals, among others.