Monday, June 2, 2014

Graduation

On May 11 2009 (91st birthday of Feynman) I gave the ‘Oral Exam’ at YITP for being ‘advanced to PhD candidacy’. On May 12 2014 (no influential physicist I know was born or died) I defended my dissertation at YITP. A long, long walk finally got over. Thank you again to those who encouraged / listened / congratulated me before / during / after my defense. Also, let me express my deepest gratitude again to all those who appear in the ‘Acknowledgements’ of my dissertation!

Dissertation writing started in Feb after I returned back from my India trip. It more or less got over by mid-April with a dedication to ‘My Superpartner’ (as expected Winking smile) and ‘To Sir, with Gratitude’. This phrase would be understandable only to a selected few. I had wanted to write a post dedicated to him for a long time but then given my limited vocabulary of adjectives and worthy expressions, I couldn’t muster enough courage to pen something down. So a dedication in my dissertation felt like the most easiest (understandably, also the cheapest) way to skip writing anything and yet somehow show that I remember (to myself obviously)! But here I am trying to blog something about my graduation ceremony and it feels I should write a few sentences for him (whatever they may be) because if I don’t do it here and now, I won’t be able to do it any other day. As my mother says, “समय का चुका गोता खाता है (Missed moments lead to awkwardness)” so here it goes:

Brijendra Sharma – a teacher, mentor, guide who taught me the importance of Science & logical thinking and in the same breath, how to appreciate prose, poetry & other art-forms. He was the ideal person to showcase how humans can handle cognitive dissonance (won’t elaborate this fact here), which (at the very least) has taught me to learn both sides of a story (if possible) and  leave being judgmental to the rest of the human-folk. Although he tried to inculcate literary prowess in me, (as I said before) putting my thoughts into writing is not a cup of tea I want to hold for long. So let me end this paragraph here and say: Thank you very much, Sir.

Having finished my dissertation with an appendix containing updated Mathematica® code, I started preparing the presentation for my defense. As is well-known my codes have expiry dates so had to update it. OK, nobody updates one’s code just to copy it somewhere but I wanted to use it to generate something interesting for my defense. Well, for those who couldn’t attend my defense on May 12th, the PowerPoint presentation follows (enjoy the 12th slide!) after the opening talk I prepared (and I messed it up as you might have expected!):

Good Afternoon everyone.
Let me briefly tell you why I am giving you this talk today apart from the fact that this is my dissertation defense. My dissertation does not have the title you see on the slide here. It has more words and reads 'The Case of Extended Supersymmetry and A Study in Superspace'. If you are familiar with some classic detective literature, you would expect my dissertation to contain a novel and a short story and you would be right. The novel spans 3 chapters based on a handful of papers I wrote with my advisor Warren Siegel and one with Marcos Crichigno (who was Martin Roček's student). These papers involve the study of four-dimensional N=2 supersymmetric theories in projective superspace. As you might expect, given the time limit of less than an hour, it would be a bad idea to cover this novel so I have decided to tell you the short story instead contained in the last chapter of my dissertation. This story is based on a paper I wrote with Marcos and Christopher Herzog. It does not have superspace in it but it still has enough supersymmetry to be interesting. Let me be specific now and reveal that I will talk about 3D N=3 quiver Chern-Simons theories.

After this, we looked forward to the Graduation Hooding Ceremony. We as in me, my Superpartner and parents. But first we went on a 3 day tour of East coast. Here are some photos to confirm that.

Then came May 22nd with hoods and all:

Me near my desk

If this photo is not enough, here is the

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