In the pandemic summer of 2020 I found myself introspecting about something important to me — why do I do science? In an attempt to answer this question, I dove into the history of science, science funding, and my childhood, and wrote this essay.

This article first appeared in Economic and Political Weekly.

For most scientists, their chosen profession is the result of doggedly pursuing their intellectual curiosity through their childhoods and young adulthoods. This is certainly true in fundamental research, but arguably also in applied research. While intellectual curiosity is excellent motivation, as we grow into adults, faced with…

The exciting discovery of an exotic new form of magnetism in stacked, atomic-thin sheets of carbon (a.k.a graphene) reminded me of a somewhat related piece of work done half a decade ago, which happened to be my first ever research project! Contrary to the exquisite control needed to observe the exotic ‘orbital’ magnetic state, you can actually get regular old magnetism in graphene rather simply — by punching a hole in the sheet of carbon atoms. That isn’t the whole story though. …

Hari Padmanabhan

Doctoral student at Penn State, research at the intersection of physics and materials.

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