An Unexpected honor for Suryendu Dutta

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Suryendu Dutta is an assistant professor at the department of earth sciences at IIT Bombay. He was awarded the NASI-Scopus young scientist award. On this, he said that the award is an honor he had not expected. And full with gratitude, he said the award is an important recognition for him as a scientist.

Then he shares about his research. For which he says, that his research has primarily focused on molecular organic geochemistry, particularly, applied to the ancient sedimentary record. At IIT Bombay, he has set up the first organic geochemistry laboratory in a teaching institute in India to characterise extant and fossilised lipids and plant metabolites (metabolic products).

What fascinates him is the study of fossilized plant resins from the different parts of the world because, according to him it indicates the evolution of life. As per him, applying the concepts of organic chemistry to earth sciences, first they pick samples of oil, sedimentary rock and examine their molecules in the lab through gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Further, he says, the outcomes of his research have important implications in hydrocarbon exploration in India.

The task is not easier. As per knowledge, it is not always easy to conduct experiments because it is difficult to obtain research funds in India, especially for young scientists. Arranging for funds is not easy for young scientists.

He says that the Union Ministry of Petroleum and the Central Government’s Department of Science and Technology had provided him grant to set up his lab but still need more funds were needed. For him, these funds were not sufficient. He wanted some funds to get some sophisticated equipments.

The NASI-Scopus awards attracted around 650 applications from nine different subject categories from premier research institutions across India.

Selections were based on citation of published research work, quality and number of publications, nature and uniqueness of research and impact on society.

The winner says he had 30 publications out of which 25 are published international journals. Along with a citation, he has won Rs 75,000, with which he is in hope that he can be able to do further research.

He share his views for limited resources and his opinion for shale gas. He says that there is a realisation that oil and natural gas are limited resources. The rate of our consumption is much higher than production. So, there is a need in India to tap shale gas, a type of natural gas that we have not explored much in India. In the US, more than 30% of energy is produced from shale gas. He hopes that the government makes policies to encourage research and development in and use of shale gas.

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