CURRENT TITLE: Reservoir Geomechanics Ph.D student at the IITB-Monash Research Academy, a joint venture between the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), India and Monash University, Australia.
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Hydraulic fracturing, numerical modeling, rock physics
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: +2 years in research
EDUCATION: I hold a B.Sc degree in Geological Sciences from Jadavpur University (2011) and a M.Sc degree in Applied Geology from IIT Bombay (2013). Both my B.Sc and M.Sc educations were supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) fellowship from the Government of India.
LINKEDIN ARTICLE: Open source software for Structural Geology analyses and research
What’s your job like?
My work focuses on the experimental and numerical modeling of the hydraulic fracture propagation in the hydrocarbon bearing rocks. This is a multidisciplinary project, so a considerable amount of time was invested in learning new methods and attending several courses on experimental and numerical methods from different departments. After the course work of the first year, my main concentration has been mostly on the experimental fracture mechanics of the rocks. So, last year was spent designing and conducting fracture mechanics experiments. Along with that, some numerical works are also being done and this will be the main focus for the coming years. I am also working as a Teaching Assistant (TA), and I conduct Engineering Geology practical classes for both the Applied Geology and Applied Geophysics master’s degree students.
What’s a typical day like?
I am an early bird, and I wake up at 6 a.m. in the morning. My day starts with checking my emails and Twitter. It is followed by reading a book or writing a part of my ongoing paper. I reach my laboratory by 9.30 a.m. My time in the laboratory is controlled by the project I’m working on. It starts with checking the journal updates and newly published papers in my area. It is followed by preparation of the rock samples for testing and conducting the experiments. Once, the experiments are over, the next few days are spent on data analyses. Along with these works, I do my TA duties, prepare and share project updates with all the stakeholders and have videoconferencing with my overseas collaborators. I normally leave my laboratory around 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Once back to my room, I mostly spend my time learning programming languages, checking geomechanics resources on the internet or doodling. I go to bed at 11:30 p.m., but before going to bed, I spend 15 minutes preparing my to-do list for the next day.
The fun part is conducting the experiments. Several of my experiments are conducted in different departments. So, I get to meet different people from diverse backgrounds and always get new perspectives on my work. Such insights from others have proven to be of tremendous help. It also gives me a true sense of the multidisciplinary nature of my project.
My Ph.D topic is not only multi-disciplinary but also different from my background. So, I had to learn many subjects and techniques within a very short period of time. I find it quite challenging through today. I need to conduct research in my domain and also learn new topics simultaneously.
What’s your advice to students?
From my experience, I have learned that focus is the ultimate trait a Ph.D candidate needs to have to get things done. One should remember that it is not possible to be best at every possible thing. It is not worthwhile to pursue every feasible idea. It’s better to choose only a few things and try to be best in that. So, it is very much necessary to correctly identify and acquire skills, locating the resources and to be persistent in the effort.