PANE 2010-a great rendezvous
- Part 1 -

Pijush Kanti Dhar *

From Guwahati to Dimapur, Dimapur to Kohima, Kohima to Mao, from Mao to Imphal- the journey by bus was really fantastic and full of thrills. Particularly when the bus entered Manipur, I was amazed to see the blue mountain and the greeneries of the valley with the zoom cultivation practiced at every slope of the valley.

The mesmerizing landscapes of Manipur (The name suggests it is a land of jewels and surely it's a tourist's haven) gave me realization that I have entered the land of my dream as I cherished always. I felt really ecstatic in an aroma of fantasy to have a quick getaway into the floating islands at Loktak Lake, the beautiful and seasonal Siroi Lily at Ukhrul (district) and to take photographs of Sangai (Brow antlered deer).

The bus entered Imphal at 11-00 A.M. on 4th October and as I entered the Manipur University Campus, I found the Physics Department in hectic mood as it was going to arrange PANE 2010, the 7th National Conference of Physics Academy of North-east for two days on 5th and 6th October, 2010.

Young budding research workers along with established research scholars were about to present their papers from different fields of Physics like Condensed Matter Physics and Material Science, Nuclear Physics and High Energy Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology, Nonlinear Dynamics, Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Plasma Physics, Mathematical and Computational Physics, Communication and Instrumentation etc in front of distinguished gathering.

Most of the delegates were accommodated in the wonderful University Guest House and some of them in magnificent Hotel Imphal & Hotel Classic. The sponsors for the two day programme were DST, New Delhi, DRDO, New Delhi, INSA, New Delhi, DST, Govt. of Manipur and Manipur University.

Next day on 5th October as I entered the Department of Management (the venue for all programmes probably because of its wonderful Conference Hall) after a refreshing breakfast in the fine morning, I found its big Conference hall ready to welcome its guests for the inaugural function. The beauty of the superbly decorated hall was enhanced by the presence of ever-helpful volunteers, particularly young girls in their easy-to-wear Manipuri traditional dresses with cheerful smile in their faces.

In the inaugural session on 5th October, 2010, the Chief Guest Professor Chabungbam Amuba Singh, the Vice-Chancellor of the Manipur University congratulated the delegates coming from various Universities and Institutions of the North-east as well as the rest of India and opined that the Conference will provide a platform for getting latest information, dissemination of knowledge and holding mutually beneficial interactions. The Session was presided by Dr. D.K.Choudhury, Executive President of PANE.

At the conference

In his Presidential speech, Prof. D. K. Choudhury stressed on the escalation of various activities of PANE and thanked all the delegates for their wider participation in the Conference to make the event a grand success.

After inaugural session, the keynote address dedicated as '3rd Bipin Pal Das Memorial Oration' was provided to the distinguished gathering by Prof. A. Surajlal Sharma of the University of Maryland of USA on the topic 'Physics of complex driven system.'

In total, there were 9 invited speakers (including the keynote address-provider) who delivered lectures on the latest developments of Physics in multi-dimensional arena in a captivating lucid style. These experts came from top research institutions like TIFR, SINP and IACS etc. along with professors from leading Indian Universities including Gauhati University. Here are the names of the resource persons and the topics of their invited talks:
  • Prof. Sangam Banerjee of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata–"Defect induced magnetism in nanomaterials".
  • Prof P.C. Agarwal of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai-"Accretion Powered X-ray Binaries: Brightest X-ray stars in the Galaxy".
  • Prof. G. P. Das of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur, Kolkata-"Computational Design of Materials for Solid State Storage of Hydrogen".
  • Prof. Janardan P Singh of Department of Physics, University of Baroda, Vadodara-"Quantum Chromodynamics and origin of mass".
  • Prof. M Hussain of Department of Physics, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi-"Carbon Nanotubes based Field Emission Display".
  • Prof. Vinoy Gupta of Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi- "Metal oxide nanostructures and thin films for sensor applications".
  • Prof. Pran Krishan of Institute of Defence Scientists and Technologists (IDST), Delhi-"Thin Film Solar Cells-Materials and Applications".
  • Prof. A. K. Barbara of Gauhati University – "Global warming, Climate change and their impacts in the North Eastern part of Indian Subcontinent".
In the second day, Prof. G. P. Das of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science presented a short nice lecture on the Physics behind the Noble Prize 2010 and their winners.

Except these, 120 research scholars presented contributory papers in their individual research zones in technical sessions spread over the two days. The quality and style of each presentation was unique. Says Prof. K. S. Bhamra, Department of Mathematics of Manipur University, who was the chairperson of a Technical session, "I was really happy to watch that participants have tried their best to put forward their colourful presentations in the best possible way.

The quality of presentation has really gone up with time." Prof. P.C.Agarwal of TIFR, who attended most of the sessions with zeal and élan, appeared contended at the end of the day while reacting as, "With the resources available in the North-eastern region, a good number of papers deserve real credit".

PANE has the tradition of felicitating distinguished senior Physicists of North-east India in each of biennial Conferences from the year 2000. And this time it was the turn of three very prominent Professors, who were honoured with reverence and the entire hall reverberated with resonance with the sound of clapping. It was Prof. C. Amuba Singh, Prof. H. Nandakumar Sharma and Prof. A.K.Barbara, whose smiling faces got frozen in the memory of the rapidly flashing digital camera.

There were three 'Young Scientist awards' for participants below the age of 35. Out of these, two were for oral and one for poster presentation. Mr. Lakhiram Tomba Singh of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore won the best oral presentation award in Condensed Matter Physics for his paper 'Current enhancement by compression of buckled Carbon Nanotube bundles'.

The 'Amiyabala Devi Award' for best oral presentation in other than Condensed Matter Physics went in favour of Mr. Abhijit Choudhury of Tripura University for his paper 'Detection of Leonid Meteor shower by ELF-VLF electromagnetic radiations'. The best poster award went in favour of Mr. Dibyendu Roy of Tripura University for the theme 'Florescence resonance energy transfer'.

Prof. D.K.Choudhury, Executive President of PANE looked in high spirits as he says, "We have got unprecedented response this year. Look, PANE has really come off age and has spread its tentacles all around to the utter pleasure of Physics- lovers of this region and other parts of India. Attending the Technical sessions has really been a tremendous pleasure for me. I congratulate the organizers of PANE 2010 for an all-round success!"

In the valedictory session, the winners of the 'Young Scientist Award' were greeted with their prizes. It was decided that the 2014 PANE Conference will be held at NERIST in Arunachal Pradesh. Says Prof. P R Alapati of NERIST with cheerfulness spread over his face, "We really wanted it and ultimately we got it". This is undoubtedly a wonderful chance for NERIST to get more involved with PANE making it more strapping.

It was also decided that an intermediate 'Theme-based Workshop' will be arranged in some part of 2011 in Tezpur University, which successfully arranged two earlier Workshops in 1999 and 2005. Particularly one remembers the Workshop arranged by TEZU on 'Einstein's creativity and Recent Trends in Physics' organized on the occasion of Celebration for International Year of Physics, 2005.

Says Prof. Nimai Singh, Secretary, PANE, "The success of the PANE 2010 Conference has boosted up the confidence level of every person associated with the Academy. And we are happy to see an appreciable accelerating growth in the number of life members of the Academy in a short time. The decision to arrange an intermediate workshop in TEZU has been the demand of the time and will prove itself to be an excellent tool in extending the activities of PANE. We are seriously considering the releasing of an e-journal on the PANE Foundation day in April, 2011. The final decision of building a permanent website for PANE is also in the pipeline."

Various delegates expressed their opinions in the final part of the valedictory function. Several speakers opined that the time of presentation for contributory papers has been too short-it was just only five minutes which was not sufficient for a participant to present himself/herself in the best possible form. The interaction time had also been shortened because of time shortage. Says Prof. Jekendra Singh, Convener of PANE 2010, "This happened primarily because we received a good number of abstracts even after the cut-off date and we accepted all of them for wider participation."

Here are a few suggestions forwarded by various delegates:
  • Keeping at par with any National Conference across India, the minimum time of presentation should be ten minutes with three to five minutes interaction time. Stress should be given on the duration of the interaction time because each Conference offers wonderful chance to the participants to interact with each other and the experts.
  • Seeing the growing popularity of PANE and the sharp rise in the total number of participants in each successive biennial conference, the total programme can be considered to be spread over three successive days in lieu of two.
  • If the number of papers are such that even a time span of three days are not sufficient, then 'peer reviewing system' may be considered to have a strict 'quality control' to select appropriate number of papers for oral presentation and the rest can be allowed to go ahead for poster presentation. In modern-day world, quality is an important word that cannot be compromised at any cost.
  • An arrangement may be made by the organizers for local sight-seeing and marketing either in the morning or by giving an intermediate gap in the last day for few hours only.
See a Photo Gallery on this conference here.

To be continued....

* Pijush Kanti Dhar (Associate Professor of Physics) is currently working as the Head of the Department of Physics in Arya Vidyapeeth College, Guwahati. The writer can be contacted at pijush(dot)k(dot)dhar(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on November 08 2010.

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