Prof. Debalay Chakrabarti

 In this series of KYP, we are going to take you to a rather young professor who is again an alumnus of our institution- professor Debalay Chakrabarti. He joined the institute in 2008 and is presently an associate professor in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department. He is also delivering his services as the UG Co-ordinator and a member of the UGPEC, one of the institute level Senate subcommittees. 

Academics’ Round-Up 

   Professor Debalay Chakrabarti accomplished his schooling from Midnapore Collegiate School, Midnapore. He graduated in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur (presently known as IIEST, Shibpur) and did his masters from IIT Kharagpur. He further went for PhD to University of Birmingham (UK) and having worked at Corus Steel (now Tata Steel Europe after being taken over) for 2 years; he decided to return his motherland and joined IIT-KGP in 2008.


   After completion of his graduation, like many other engineering students who were more inclined towards job at that time, he joined a metallurgical foundry near Kolkata but left after a year for higher studies at IIT-KGP. Then, with an intention to assist his family financially, he worked at Tata Steel, Jamshedpur. But his concealed interest in academia urged him to go abroad for PhD – University of Birmingham. 

   During his job in Corus Steel (UK), he wished to be back to India and also realized his own proclivity towards the academic field. Since IIT-KGP was the place he had spent much of his time learning fundamentals of Materials Science, his affection made him to be a part of this Institute. 

Experience in University of Birmingham

    As he states, methodology followed at University of Birmingham is quite appreciable as the perspective of research in the field. 

   He tells that students there, perform regular experiments to add to whatever they learn in theoretical studies and then again go to experiment, this time with a better understanding and plan. Education is based on the interests one may have or develops as per observing the different phenomena or aspects of a material and thus gives rise to free learning and initiatives from the students’ side.

On the Department

   Professor Chakrabarti prides the senior faculties who had been at prominent designations at several other engineering institutes also and have already elevated this department to a certain height. 

   He states that despite being an engineering department, a significant amount of love for the science of materials has always been maintained there among the faculty members. He also admires the computational and experimental facilities evolved in the department. 

   He further adds that several young faculty members have joined in a few couple of years, creating a fresher environment but besides this, batch strength has also been increased causing less personal attention of the professors towards their students. It is something that does not let them help the academically weak students of the class.

His Research Interests 

   His research is centred to conventional metallurgy, mainly steel metallurgy but several new fields are emerging in materials science. Since a lot of efforts are being made to make better use of nuclear energy, he has worked for the development of the steel to sustain high temperature with his students for the last four to five years. He is also contributing for the improvement of steel-quality to pace with the present and future requirements i.e. strategic applications, vehicles etc.

   Apart from this, numerous research areas are aligned passionate people to work on. Development of light-weighted vehicles for efficiency, manufacturing of components of electronic devices, environmental protection of materials etc.  are a few of them.

On Students Opting Non-Core Fields

   He is not much surprised at students opting for non-core sector as in foreign countries also, the availability of engineering jobs is almost similar. Even PhD students opt for marketing and financial fields in foreign countries as a degree in engineering branch is taken as approval of one’s quality to approach the problems faced. And now, scientific research is much required in this field for building a strong metallurgical background of the nation. 

   Here, social-economic aspect also comes into picture. Students chose their careers looking for the short-term benefits and that is mainly financial. His advice to the students is to take long-term goals i.e. sustainability and the opportunities to learn, contribution to own society into account however, there may not be sudden progress in the job as in other areas. The core jobs will certainly also offer a better future for patient professionals.


Pleasant Memories at KGP

   He shares the memories of his early days at IIT-KGP when he used to actively take part in sports activities. He would play football in Tata Steel Sports Complex and enjoyed walking around the campus. However, it altogether stopped as his foot twisted and he engaged himself more in academia.

   Apart from this, it was a cheerful and memorable moment for him when his first research paper had been accepted in a decent journal after being at IIT-KGP. Also, he pleasantly recalls the day when they successfully secured the infrastructure grant from institute for the upgradation of departmental labs he looks after.

Roles as a UG-Coordinator

   He serves as a bridge between students, HOD and faculty advisors and institute, guiding the students to the right path for a problem they may face and thus playing a co-ordinating role. Also, it is always tried to pass the information to Dean(UGS) related to the academic performance of students of the department and to conclude the necessary steps for the betterment of the students. 

   Being a member of UGPEC (Under Graduate Programme Evaluation Committee), he takes part in the initiatives and discussions for UGS. As the UGPEC is the subcommittee to pass it to the Senate for further processing and implementation.


Extra-Curricular Activities

   His views regarding other extra academic involvement of students are soothing. He tells that extra academic activities are crucial during undergraduate phase because it is a period of holistic growth of student. The most important thing to learn the way to work in a group, as a team as it is the best way to come up with more amazing outcomes. 

He also advocates the sports culture that KGP has and appeals everyone to have at least some sports and games as part of their day.

He further adds that one should look to manage his time to maintain regularity in academics as well to save oneself from the self-created pressure of exam days.

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