Diamond polisher’s son is now an acclaimed nuclear physicist Only Indian Chosen For Fellowship At Top Italian Institute


Diamond polisher’s son is now an acclaimed nuclear physicist
Only Indian Chosen For Fellowship At Top Italian Institute


Until five years ago, his father Manhar Prajapati (62) used to polish diamonds in Gujarat’s diamond city Surat. Now, this 34-yearold researcher, who had completed his PhD from M S University’s department of physics against all odds, is all set to study the gleaming stars of the universe.

Dr Paresh Prajapati is the only Indian scientist who has been selected for a yearlong post-doctoral fellowship in experimental physics at the world’s premier institute of nuclear physics – the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy.

Globally, only 10 scientists have been selected for this post-doctoral fellowship which is extendable for a second year.

Paresh Prajapati

Prajapati has Marie Curie fellowship

Hailing from Hansot taluka’s remote Ilav village, nearly 50 km away from Bharuch town, the scientist had to leave his native for Surat since there was no high school. After finishing his BSc from Surat, he completed his MSc and PhD from MSU while working as a post-doctoral fellow at Plasma Research Centre, Gandhinagar.

The young nuclear physicist will be paid an annual gross salary of euros 36,000 (nearly Rs 36 lakh) apart from travel tickets to and from INFN sites of national laboratories of Sud Italia.

“This nuclear astrophysics project is a very challenging field. Presently, no work is happening in this field in our own country and even in Europe, there are selected groups working in this discipline,” says Prajapati.

INFN was established in 1951 to carry forward the work done by Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi, who set up the world’s first nuclear reactor.

The project is a collaboration of 15 countries including Germany, Japan, United States, Canada, China, Russia and Korea among others. The scientists will use nuclear astrophysics to study the temperature, density during the origin of the stars at laboratory scale.

“We will explore carbon-oxygen fusion using indirect technique (trojan horse method) to know the formation of heavy metals like neon 10, magnesium and aluminium among others,” explains Prajapati.

Prajapati had finished his PhD in ‘studies of neutron-induced fission and nuclear reaction for advanced heavy water reactor and accelerator driven sub-critical system applications’ under professor S K Mukherjee.

Four years back, Prajapati was instrumental in setting up a small-scale neutron physics laboratory at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the prestigious Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) when he had bagged Marie Curie fellowship.

During his term there as an ‘experienced scientist’, he was also selected for the best scientist award by the European Union while he worked at the premier European Organization for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) ISOLDE radioactive ion beam facility to study thorium reactors and chain reactions

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