Physics Ph.D. Student Shines in Georgia Tech’s Three Minute Thesis Finals

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School of Physics Ph.D. student Bharath Hebbe Madhusudhana (Bharath) got a nod from the judges and audience of the 2016 Georgia Tech Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Finals on Nov. 15, 2016. For his spirited explanation of how atoms, when cooled to almost immobility, remember abstract geometric phenomena, the judges named him the third-place winner and the audience voted him as one of two winners of the People’s Choice award.

The winners of the competition were:

First Place: Monica McNerney, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Second Place: Tesca Fitzgerald, School of Interactive Computing

Third Place: Bharath Hebbe Madhusudhana, School of Physics

People’s Choice:              

    Bharath Hebbe Madhusudhana, School of Physics

    Aravind Samba Murthy, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Bharath is a fourth-year Ph.D. student working in the lab of Michael S. Chapman. For his Ph.D. work, he has discovered something fundamental about rubidium atoms: When cooled to 190 nanoKelvins--almost absolute zero--and exposed to a magnet that traces a circle around them, the very-low-energy rubidium atoms can remember something abstract. They can tell the area of an abstract surface—called the Boy’s surface—corresponding to the real traced circle.

Also competing in the 2016 finals was Pranav Kalelkar, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Under the guidance of David M. Collard, he has modified a biorenewable and biodegradable polyester to enable attachment of biomolecules, such as proteins, in various ways. The work enables the creation of new materials for custom applications, such as bone repair, drug delivery, and antimicrobial activity.

3MT is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 to encourage Ph.D. students to acquire and hone communication skills. Competitors have three minutes to present compelling talks about their thesis topics.

In the inaugural Georgia Tech 3MT competition, in November 2015, Pamela Grothe, a Ph.D. student of Kim Cobb in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, also placed third. She described her thesis topic during her three-minute talk Coral Thermometers and Monster El Niños.


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