M.Sc., University of Kashmi
Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, 2014
Brought up and educated in a small village of a very beautiful valley named “Kashmir,” archaically spelt Cashmere – a conflict area within Indian Territory. Shahnawaz received his Masters in Chemistry from my state’s only seat of learning, University of Kashmir. He then moved to the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India for pursuing research in Chemistry and was awarded a Ph.D. in January 2014.
Shahnawaz has always been piqued by the non-trivialities existing within the realm of the presumed and apparently “obvious” and realized that sometimes simple questions do not necessarily have simple answers. This felt true once he joined his current research group as a postdoctoral researcher. He is specifically interested in understanding; what drives natural light harvesting systems beyond the realm predicted by classical and semi-classical theories? Is quantum mechanics going to tell us more about the way energy is transferred? The existence of quantum coherences?! Is it a mere manifestation of the complexity existing in such hugely engineered light harvesting assemblies, does nature actually utilize those coherences as a mechanism to drive photosynthesis, or could it be a manifestation of the way we carry out very complicated and highly sensitive experiments? Evolution over millions of years may also be responsible for enabling these photosynthetic organisms to adapt mechanisms relying on quantum mechanics to cope with natural selection. These are just a few philosophical questions out there and to give actual scientific meaning to these questions and answers eventually, we try to march forward.
Favorite Scientist: Ahmed H. Zewail
Favorite quote: “I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice”