What is your position or role in the DESI project?
I am a PhD student working mainly as a part of the Target Selection and Galaxy and Quasar Physics Working Groups.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in a small town in North Eastern India called Agartala. After doing by undergraduate studies in Bhubaneswar, India, I moved to Pittsburgh, USA where I am currently doing my grad school at the University of Pittsburgh.
What do you do as part of DESI?
I mostly work on developing and testing algorithms to select objects of which DESI will measure the spectra using the data from the imaging surveys. After the observations, I also go through the spectra to check whether the data satisfies all the science requirements. I also work on studying the physics of galaxies and want to study how populations of galaxies evolve. I have also done some observations with the instrument and help in developing some of the infrastructure for the survey.
What is the most interesting or exciting thing about DESI?
Astronomy is the oldest form of observational science but we still know so little about our universe. We are still in the dark about what 95% of the universe is made of! By being a part of DESI, I get to work with a lot of wonderful people who are trying to answer some of the most basic and profound questions about our Universe like, When and Why did everything begin? or What is causing the expansion of the Universe? This exploration of the unknown is what excites me the most.
Any advice for an aspiring scientist?
Be curious, ask questions and try explore all the resources available to find the answers yourself. Sometimes you will find an answer, sometimes you won’t but in the process you will get to understand the scientific method of tackling a problem. Even if you don’t end up being a professional scientist, I believe learning the scientific method to solve any problem in our life is very important.
What do you do for fun?
I love exploring different cuisines and and recreate them on my own. I love to go out on hikes and explore new places. I also like to talk to others about science and help organize science outreach events in the city.