Returning to School After 30!

This has been a topic request by many since I published my two posts on doing physics after engineering and also my own experience obtaining a masters degree from a relatively obscure university. I joined my masters program at 32 and the experience was bittersweet to put it shortly. It’s been a while since I had been meaning to tell my readers the pros and cons of embarking into an endeavor like this.

I absolutely love quoting others from real life as well as from movies. So please do bear with my tendency to pull quotes and movie dialogs out of nowhere and place them in my written text.

I must also warn you because the picture that I am going to paint here may be grim and you probably are not going to like what I have to say. With those caveats, let’s get on with today’s topic.

Never too late? Or is it?

“It is never too late” is a maxim thrown around quite often when talking about starting off with one’s own passion. Sure, it is never too late to chase what one’s heart wants but I would like to mention an addendum to this which is, “Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

There was a documentary I watched a few years ago in which Mr. Narayanamurthy, the founder of Infosys said, “It is very easy to lose hope in this country.” That is perhaps the best statement that encompasses every aspect of the sad situation that most people are in our beloved nation.

There are times when we do come to a realization that it is indeed too late to start and there is hardly anything we can do about it. That’s probably when people just give up and “move on” in their lives. It’s quite funny because the situation becomes tantamount to Carla Gugino’s remark in the film San Andreas, “We stopped moving!”.

You either will end up being happy with the acceptance that life isn’t fair or you might spend each moment of your waking life hating yourself. Sadly, it is mostly out of our control due to a myriad of reasons.

Risky Business!

I don’t intend to give anyone any false hope. Wanting to do a masters degree or a PhD after 30 may sound like a promising respite from the rut that you are in right now. However, this process is not without risks if you don’t plan far into the future. Trust me, because although I entered my university for an MSc at 32, I embarked on this project almost 7 years prior to that when I was around 24 – 25. That my dear friends is how much messed up the situation can get if you lack a proper plan. The delay of 7 years was not because I didn’t try but because I wasn’t allowed to focus. We will come to that later.

In the beginning, I had no idea as to how to even begin or whether it was even possible. As I had an engineering degree (perhaps the biggest mistake in my life), the options to get into a masters program in physics were limited. I was fed up working in a large corporate although the money was good and I wanted to pursue my lifelong passion of understanding the universe.  I had some information from online sources about certain institutions where this switch was possible and without thinking I set off on this journey.

I am glad that as of 2021, there are countless engineers who want to make the switch and institutions such as IIT have now started to recognize this. In the recent IIT JAM exam brochure I was delighted to find that they have clearly allowed engineers to do MSc. This is definitely progress and hats-off to the perseverance of the Physics after Engineering community in achieving this. Back in 2008 – 09 period, it was a practically unknown thing to do and anyone attempting was destroyed by pseudo-critics.  

That being said, was my decision to switch a good one? The answer could be a mixed response from me. See, if you succeed in your endeavors people around you would appreciate you or even take credit for your success. But if you fail, then you are all alone. No bloody bugger would ever come to console you and encourage you to try again! Frankly speaking, when I look back I feel that I shouldn’t have made this switch. Don’t mistake me. I am not discouraging you. Just stating a plain fact. It is true that I know far more about switching from engineering to physics today than I did all those years ago but gaining that knowledge came at a price. I lost my career, my youth and in that process any chance at making a mark in this field.

The Bill Always Comes Due! Always!

When Mordo tells this to Doctor Strange, he was more than just talking about a universal law. I would like to start with a concept so familiar that nobody pays attention. It is called Financial Independence! I can’t stress enough the importance of being financially independent if you are a passion driven person. If you are a 30+ person intending to do a masters or a PhD, this is where you should start.

Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have the money to fund your own masters degree and a PhD thereafter?
  • Can you become a self-funded research candidate who can take care of the university fees, travel costs, living expenses and all the other allied expenses associated with your masters + PhD endeavor?
  • Will it be possible for you to do what you want with the PhD you got without having to beg in front of funding agencies?

If the answer is NO to these questions, then my dear friend you should abandon your project immediately! You are unfit to pursue your passion!

I know it was a harsh thing to say but calm your mind for a second and think about why I said it. 

So, why did I say this? Well, first of all most institutes around the world want young and energetic candidates. There is no denying this fact. They expect aged candidates to be self-funded for obvious reasons. After your PhD, because of your age, it is far more difficult for you to get a job in academia/research/industry compared to a younger candidate. Why should financial resources be spent on you if you are eventually going to be forced to quit the field due to your age? Institutions would rather give the money to a younger candidate who is far more likely to stay in the field and continue contributing.

Secondly, lack of finances will create a dependency. Either you will have to depend on your family (a very bad idea) or you may have to raise a loan of some kind (yet another bad idea).  If you are from India and above 30 and unmarried and wanting to pursue your passion with the “help” of your family, well, good luck with that!

I am not saying that my family did not help me. They in fact helped me a lot financially. Unfortunately, that help came way too late and by the time I was taken seriously, I was already 31 and totally dejected with my life. 

Indian families are always under societal pressure because of a general Indian mindset which promotes the following cycle of four components:

  • Get a degree
  • Get a job
  • Get married and have kids
  • Pass on this mindset to the next generation

I would like to call this the “Stability Argument“. Unfortunately, if you have any other idea in your head outside this paradigm and you are not financially independent, then you are doomed for a failure! Even if your family supports you initially, they will always be worried about what the society would think if word got out that you are sitting at home preparing for something for your future. It is just not acceptable in India. As simple as that. 

This whole “Sharma ji ke bete ko dekho…..”, “Kapoor sahab ki beti ko dekho……” mentality is something that I faced and suffered directly. I had been compared with all sorts of people including my successful classmates, my successful cousins, the children of my parents’ friends….. the list goes on.  Because of this reason, none of my unique talents was ever encouraged or nurtured and those talents have now become rusted and useless. 

Now, there is no issue with being stable in life and everybody must strive for that. But believing that there is only one path to stability is myopic and downright stupid. The only “achievement” the stability argument has got is creating 1.3 billion people. What else can we say proudly that we have achieved that the Western developed societies haven’t?

It is quite sad to see that doing research is not seen as a job in our country. In many developed countries in Europe and elsewhere, a PhD student is not treated as a student but as a staff member of the university and is paid salary instead of stipend.

Anyway, if you have to get back to school after 30, then you better go in with a lot of money in your bank. Otherwise my friend, you are a done deal!

Ranking Matters!

Yes! Studying in a reputed institute matters. You are anyway going to spend a long time (2 years in masters and 3 to 5 years in PhD) and you are over 30. The odds are all against you, so why not spend your time and money at a place that is worth spending? I did a masters degree from a university that most people haven’t heard of and it simply added insult to injury to an already messed up profile.  Sure, there are students from my university who did make their way to foreign countries for PhD but they all have better profiles due to the following reasons:

  • They are young (fresh graduates)
  • They don’t have gaps in their career
  • They are not switching fields like me

Why should any university select an overage candidate who has done a variety of different jobs that have nothing to with physics and then did a masters from a university that is not that great compared to a young graduate with a near perfect resume? This is a ground reality that you must understand before you challenge this unforgiving world. An unprepared challenger is surely set for a defeat!

It is therefore preferable to do your masters from abroad but if you choose to do your masters in India, try for DU, JNU, Pune University or any premier institutes such as IIT, IISc etc. Anything below this is going to be a waste of your time, effort and money.  I have seen students who did their MSc from IIT and DU taking coaching in physics to crack the NET exam. This is the scary and hopeless situation you are getting into.  So, you might as well get your masters from a good place.

People who have read my post about my experience doing MSc may say that I am contradicting myself in this article. Actually I am not. I wrote that post in 2018 with the knowledge and awareness of that time.  But as time passed, my point of view has changed. In the future if my viewpoint changes further, I might write something else. It’s part of personal evolution.

Publications

Back in 2008 – 09 when I told my old college professor that I wanted to switch from engineering to physics, he advised me to publish something in physics to boost my profile and prove that I am genuinely interested. I didn’t listen to him. My best friend told me in 2010 to publish something. I didn’t listen again. At that time though the competition in the field of astrophysics was high, it wasn’t as horrifying as it is today.

These days with the advent of online learning, every Tom, Dick and Harry is acquiring knowledge in this subject at an exponential rate and also publishing good stuff. Students these days publish papers even during their undergraduate degrees. Somebody once asked me whether doing courses on platforms such as Coursera, Udemy and the like would work in their favor. It would have if there were only few people taking those courses.  The enrollment numbers in each course of these online platforms are in the millions. The question you should ask yourself is what extra thing are you bringing to the table that all these millions of course takers haven’t already.

An overage idiot like you is surely going to be left behind in this race unless you fight with the same ferocity as your younger more accomplished competitors. For a young candidate, even if he/she doesn’t have a publication, a good SOP and Research Proposal would work. But for reasons I mentioned before, if you are aged, you probably won’t be considered even if your SOP and RP are great unless you have publications.

Forgetting Physics

Many hopeful engineering students have messaged me to ask what I have been doing since I finished my MSc. Well, I have a very sad story to tell them. Since my MSc, For about 18 months I tried very hard to go abroad for my PhD.  Since there was a delay in obtaining my marksheets from the university and the convocation, I decided to stay in Delhi instead of returning to Kerala. I thought that since I had to go to the university frequently to get things like character certificate, transcripts and so on, it was better to stay in close proximity.  It was advantageous but also incurred a lot of cost.  After I obtained my certificates, transcripts and marksheets, it proved to be too expensive staying in Delhi and after 1 year of stay, I had to come back to Kerala. I spent 6 more months preparing further PhD applications. 

In September 2019, I launched a YouTube channel hoping that I could create good quality videos in the subject of astrophysics and also science in general. I even created three videos but the excitement was short lived.  It would take a long time before a YouTube channel generates any sort of revenue. Further considering the sheer number of channels with good standing that talk about the exact same topic, it would take ages before someone notices my channel and the pressure was mounting to get back to work.

It was impossible to get a JRF as the age limit for JRF is 28. It was also not possible to work as a Project Assistant under any professor because the age limit for that is 35. It became imperative to find work elsewhere.  

So I did. I have been working in a private company doing a job that has nothing to do with physics for the past 1 year or so. The initial plan was to continue my channel alongside my work but within one month I realized that it wasn’t possible. People have advised me to keep the channel in abeyance and start it again later. I don’t know whether I will be able to do that. Most likely I would terminate it.

I often wonder how people claim to run a YouTube channel while working a full-time job. Either they have a good team working for them in the pre-production, production and post-production stages. Or they might be lying!

Anyway, I have started losing touch with physics. To counter that I sometimes read physics textbooks but due to my busy schedule, nothing ever works out.  In another few years I might forget physics completely. I am already at the verge of it.

Moving Forward

Over a decade ago when I embarked on this mission, my long term goal was to start my own research institute either in India or abroad. I planned to do a master + PhD or integrated PhD course and raise funds during my post-doc stages. 

When I received my last rejection letter in November 2019, I understood that none of this will ever work out. 

10 or 20 years down the line, if I do have the money then probably I will try that. But by then I will be 56 years old and it wouldn’t matter anyway.

Conclusion

So, should you pursue a masters degree + PhD after 30? My short answer would be – DON’T!

Despite my warning, if you still want to go ahead with your plan, then I am nobody to stop you.  But if you fuck your life up due to improper planning, then it is your problem. Not mine!

Those of you who haven’t read my previous posts about switching to physics after engineering, you may find them here and here

 

Ayam Goreng Berempah – Malaysian Style Spicy Fried Chicken

What’s so special about Fried Chicken? I would say nothing much. In this KFC era, fried chicken is a very common dish. In addition, being in Kerala means that at least once in a month you would eat Kerala Chicken Fry. That’s why today I wanted to try something different. Today’s special is called Ayam Goreng Berempah which is a delicacy from Malaysia. Now, these three words literally translate to “Chicken Fried Spice” or in other words “Spicy Fried Chicken”. There is a variant called Ayam Goreng Berempah Serai where “Serai” means lemongrass. Unfortunately we didn’t have lemongrass in our vicinity so we had to skip that. We also made other modifications. So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Set – 1

  • Chicken – 1.5 kg (cut in large pieces)

Set – 2

  • Onion – 1 (medium sized)
  • Garlic – 4 large cloves
  • Ginger – 1 inch
  • Lemongrass (white part) – 4 sticks (this is optional)

Set – 3

  • Egg – 1
  • Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 1/2 tsp (or as you wish)
  • Meat Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour – 3 tbsp
  • Curry Leaves – 1 to 2 sprigs

Set – 4

  • Coconut Oil – As required for deep frying (the original recipe recommended vegetable oil but our stock of it was over)

Preparation

  • Blend Set – 2 ingredients in a blender to make a paste
  • Make a batter out of Set – 3 ingredients
  • Mix the chicken with Set – 2 and Set – 3 to marinate and keep it aside for at least 1 hour
  • Take a woke or deep frying pan and heat sufficient oil in it.
  • Deep fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown and crisp
  • Remove the fried chicken and keep it on paper towel to absorb the excess oil
  • Serve with the sauce of your choice.

Tips

  • Marinating the chicken overnight is the recommended method. So if you decide to prepare it, try marinating it the previous night
  • The oil should start smoking. It is a good idea to throw a curry leaf into it to see whether it bubbles. That shows whether the oil is ready
  • The oil can be any cooking oil except olive. I am not sure what is wrong with olive oil but the author from whom I learned this has specifically stated this.
  • Lemongrass is an ingredient I skipped. Perhaps when I prepare this next time I will try adding it and see the difference.

I must thank the author who has written the original recipe which I modified. You may check out my other recipes as well as follow me on Instagram if you need updates about any upcoming recipes. Enjoy!

Mutton Curry – Sri Lankan Style

My readers on this blog as well as my Instagram followers might already be familiar with my affinity towards non-vegetarian dishes. No offence to vegans but I really love some meat in my diet. Last week my dad asked me whether I could find a mutton recipe that is different from the usual that we prepare. I went looking for Iranian, Malaysian and Kashmiri recipes but all of them had one or two ingredients that we didn’t have. That’s when I looked for a Sri Lankan recipe and I found this really delicious mutton curry that I am sharing with you today. Of course we have made our own modifications to the original recipe. So, let’s get on with the dish:

Ingredients

For Masala

  • Coriander – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch
  • Fennel Seeds – 2 tsp
  • Dry Red Chilli – 12
  • Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp

For Main Work

  • Mutton – 1 kg
  • Onion – 4 large
  • Fennel Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch
  • Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Cardamom pod – 2
  • Turmeric Powder – 2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green Chilli – 4
  • Coconut Cream – 5 tbsp
  • Coconut Oil – As required
  • Coriander Leaves – For garnishing

Preparation

  • Dry roast the ingredients for the masala in a frying pan for a couple of minutes (without burning) and let it cool
  • Powder the ingredients in a blender
  • Marinate the mutton with turmeric powder and a little salt and keep it aside
  • Heat the oil in a pressure cooker
  • Saute the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods along with the curry leaves for about 1 minute
  • Add the onion and green chilli and saute for another minute
  • Add the mutton into this and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add the masala with some salt and stir for 10 minutes
  • Add water to this (do not add too much if the mutton already has water in it)
  • Close the lid and let it pressure cook up to 6 whistles (for Indian mutton)
  • Turn off the heat and let the steam pressure subside
  • Open the lid and see if there is excess water in the gravy
  • If there is, then heat it for some more time until the gravy is thick as per your requirement
  • Add the coconut cream and mix well
  • Simmer for about a minute or two
  • You may garnish with chopped coriander leaves

So there you go folks. This is the Sri Lankan style Mutton Curry that I modified from this original version. I am pretty sure you will like it. One curious thing about these foreign recipes is the special masala mix that they use. Somehow the aroma is superb and it spreads in all neighborhood. This was the case when we cooked Uzbek Plov for the first time and it was repeated with this one as well. Enjoy!

Delicious Pink Semiya Payasam Recipe

Sweet Porridge also known as Payasam is the ultimate dessert in Kerala Cuisine. When it comes to an easy-to-prepare payasam, the Vermicelli or Semiya Payasam comes to mind immediately. It is very recently that I came across a video of a variant of this dish which is pink in color. If you are familiar with Kerala food, you might have come across a payasam called Palada which has a light pink color. But that color is achieved through caramelization of sugar. To be more precise it is light brownish in color and not really “pink”. However, the maker of this video took a different route to add exact pink color to semiya payasam. So when I checked online for this method I found that there were many people who have tried this and successfully added pinkish tint to their payasams. The following is our version of the same which my mom and I prepared. It is more or less similar to what is available in other videos and websites.

Ingredients

  • Semiya (Vermicelli) – 350 gm
  • Milk – 3.5 liters
  • Sugar – 500 gm
  • Clarified Butter (ghee) – as required
  • Cashew Nuts – as required
  • Raisins (Kismis) – as required
  • Almonds – as required
  • Green Cardamoms – as required
  • Beetroot – 1
  • Rose Water – two teaspoons

Preparation

Pink Color

As you may already guessed, the beetroot in the list of ingredients is used for making the pink color.

  • Cut the beetroot into small pieces
  • Add about 1.5 cups of water to it
  • Boil this mixture until the color of beetroot is extracted into the water
  • Turn off the flame and set aside

Payasam

  • Break the semiya into small pieces of half an inch length
  • Heat the ghee in a large vessel
  • Stir fry the semiya until most of the pieces have attained light golden-yellowish-brownish color
  • Turn off the flame and remove the semiya from the vessel
  • Pour the milk into the same vessel and start heating
  • Stir the milk until its water content is reduced and it becomes thicker
  • Add the fried semiya into this and continue stirring
  • Take a piece of semiya and squeeze it to see whether it has been cooked
  • If it is cooked well, add sugar and stir well until all the sugar is dissolved
  • Add 4 tablespoons of beetroot essence that you had prepared earlier. This will turn the payasam pink.
  • Stir for 2 – 3 more minutes
  • Crush the cardamoms in a pestle
  • Remove the skin from the crushed cardamoms
  • Add this to the payasam
  • Add two teaspoons of rose water to this
  • Turn off the flame and close the container leaving a slight gap so that the the steam can escape

Garnishing

  • Cut almonds into small pieces
  • Heat ghee in a small frying pan
  • Fry the cashews and remove it
  • Fry the raisins and remove it
  • Fry the almonds and remove it
  • Add these fried items into the payasam and stir

Tips

  • Do not add sugar before the semiya pieces are cooked. It will interfere with the cooking process
  • While frying, never allow the semiya pieces to become dark brown
  • You can add more beetroot essence before serving if you need a darker shade of pink in your payasam
  • You can add more rose water but make sure that you don’t add too much as it may affect the taste.

Your Pink Semiya Payasam is now ready. If you have any questions or comments, you can put that in the comments below. I must thank Mia Kitchen and others who gave us this idea. We plan to extend this to other payasams such as Palada and see how it goes. Thanks for reading.

Bon appetit!

Flavorful and Delicious Tuna Cutlet Recipe

In her last visit my sister-in-law taught us how she makes her amazing Tuna Cutlet. When she and my brother visited this time, we surprised them with our own version of the Tuna Cutlet and it really impressed them. Today I am sharing with you the same recipe. I hope you will make amazing cutlets and let me know your feedback.

Ingredients

  • Canned Tuna (150 gm each) – 2
  • Medium Potatoes – 4
  • Large Onions – 2
  • Green Chilly – 6
  • Garlic Cloves – 12
  • Garam Masala – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri Chilly Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coconut oil – for frying
  • Egg White – from 2 eggs
  • Bread Crumbs – As required.

Preparation

  • Boil the potatoes and peel them.
  • Remove the brine from canned tuna.
  • Cut the onion, green chilly and garlic cloves into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion, green chilly and garlic cloves until the onion turns golden brown.
  • Add the tuna and continue frying until the tuna pieces break down fine.
  • Add the Black Pepper, Kashmiri Chilly Powder and Garam Masala with salt.
  • Cook until the tuna is soft and well mixed with the onion and other things (almost like Egg Bhujia)
  • Mash the potatoes nicely and add to the tuna mixture.
  • Combine the cooked tuna with the mashed potatoes until you get a good mix.
  • Turn off the flame and wait until the mixture becomes warm enough so you can touch it.
  • Put fresh bread in a blender and grind them to make fine powder.
  • Using your hand take some amount of tuna-potato mixture and mold it in any shape you want.
  • Beat the egg white.
  • Dip the tuna-potato mixture you have shaped in the egg white.
  • Dip it in the bread powder so as to coat it completely.
  • Heat the coconut oil and deep fry the cutlet until the surface is golden brown.

Tips

  • Make sure that you fry only one cutlet at a time. More than one in the frying pan will break the coating and cause a mess.
  • You can use any oil that you like. We have tried with coconut as well as sunflower oils so far.
  • Beating the tuna while you fry it will make the meat finer and that will make the cutlet taste better.
  • The Garam Masala we use is homemade using a secret recipe. You can use any Garam Masala available in the market. But if you want to know how we make our Garam Masala, you have to personally meet me and ask.

Let me know in the comments how you like this cutlet. I have posted mine in my Instagram feed. Thank you.

MSc Physics after B.Tech in Information Technology

In an earlier post I wrote almost a year ago I described some options available to engineers to switch to physics at the masters and PhD level. I am glad to see the positive reception that it received. Knowing that it has inspired so many young B.Tech/B.E graduates to rethink the conventional viewpoint that we entertain in our country is very satisfying. Apart from the comments under my post, I also had some people contact me through social media to know my story and ask for personal guidance. I am always there to help if there is any information or guidance you need. That being said, in today’s article I will quench your curiosity as to where and how I did my masters in physics after doing B.Tech.

I am a B.Tech graduate who specialized in Information Technology. I completed my graduation in 2006 and entered my MSc Physics studies in 2016. So there was a 10 years gap between my undergraduate and post-graduate studies. During these years I worked in many different companies and experimented with several things both academic and otherwise. I am not going to get into the details of all that but what I can say is that I became old and wise in the process. This wisdom has given me a lot of perspective in life which I probably wouldn’t have if I was just a fresh graduate from college.

If you are under the impression that I did my masters in some well known university or institute such as IIT or JNU or somewhere abroad as I listed in my earlier post, I am sorry to disappoint you. I did my masters in a relatively lesser known university. The place where I did my masters is called Central University of Haryana or in short CUH. It is an institution under the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. There are at present 40 universities in India that are classified as central universities and CUH is ranked 28th in that list. You may view that list in this MHRD link.

Most people when they hear the name Haryana get turned off and since I am from Kerala many people have asked me how on Earth did I end up doing my MSc in Haryana. My short answer to such queries is that just because a university is situated in Haryana doesn’t mean it is bad. In fact, CUH is a good university and the physics department there is excellent. Of course there are some cons about the place Mahendragarh where this university is located as it is a rural area. However, our main concern as students must be to focus on the curriculum and knowledge transfer rather than cribbing too much about why we ended up in this obscure place. As Aamir Khan said in the movie 3 Idiots – ज्ञान तो ज्ञान होता है| जहाँ से भी मिले, लपेट लो |

CUH has a student population that is diverse as I have seen students from across the country coming and studying there. Just like in any other university, there are opportunities for self improvement with frequent talks by invited speakers and also other programs such as GIAN courses. In addition, there are many cultural activities and events. When I was studying, there were about 20 students from Kerala and we even conducted an Onam Celebration and made all the non-Malayali students to participate in various games as part of the festival. It was fun. In the following paragraphs, I will describe the way you can get in to CUH and also the physics department.

CUCET

CUCET stands for Central Universities Common Entrance Test. This is the exam you need to take in order to get admission to CUH. Compared to IIT – JAM, GATE, JEST, DU, JNU etc., this entrance is relatively easy. Its pattern keeps changing so you need to check the current pattern if you are giving this test. Now, I will never insist you to only write CUCET. If you are interested in going to only premier institutes or some place abroad then by all means do that. However, it is wise to keep CUH as a safe option just in case you don’t want to waste another year in preparation. For me personally this was the only option left as I didn’t have too many years to spare.

Following the result of CUCET, you will be called for counseling depending on the institute preferences that you have given. I had given the options viz. Central University of Punjab, Central University of Haryana and Central University of Kerala. I received a counseling invitation from CUH and the rest is history. Depending on your rank in the exam you may have to go for multiple counseling. Once your admission is confirmed, you may choose to live in the hostel or take a room elsewhere. I took up a single room in Mahendragarh town which is 12 km from Jant-Pali village where the university building is situated. The daily commute was a problem but I preferred to live in a place where basic amenities such as market, restaurants, medical stores etc. were available. So the choice is yours as to whether to live on campus or some other place.

The Physics Department

Now we will get to the crux of the matter. The department of physics at CUH offers both MSc and PhD programs. It is new compared to other departments but there are many advantages if you do MSc from here.

The Faculty

The most important part of any university department is its faculty. The faculty members of CUH physics department are experts in their respective fields. They have done their PhD from prestigious institutes such as IIT, JNU and DU. In addition, some of them have done their post-doctoral research abroad and have a good list of publications in prominent physics journals such as Nature and Physical Review Letters. They have been more than willing to share their knowledge whenever I had doubts and difficulties throughout the course. In fact one of the reasons I decided to stay in CUH rather than dropping another year to repeat entrances is because of the good faculty members. They are friendly and knowledgeable and being associated with them would be very good for your profile.

The Curriculum

The second most attractive aspect of the department is the MSc physics curriculum. It is really vast and inclusive. Depending on the specialization you seek for your future, you can tailor the curriculum with the optional subjects available. The latest syllabus (2017-19 version) is available in this link. You are welcome to have a look at it for details. I will summarize the curriculum as follows:

Core Courses

The following are the subjects classified as core in the curriculum:

  • Mathematical Methods in Physics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Electronics
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Classical Electrodynamics
  • Atomic, Molecular Physics and Laser
  • Nuclear & Particle Physics
  • Solid State Physics

These subjects are core for obvious reasons. As a physicist you are supposed to know them. If someone asks you a question in these, you should not blink. All the other advanced topics that you learn in physics are an extension of these. So irrespective of where you study, you will find these in the syllabus. Apart from the theoretical core subjects, there are three laboratory courses as well which you have to take in the first three semesters.

Advanced Courses

As I said, advanced level courses are an extension of the core courses.  You are given a choice as to which of these advanced courses you want to study:

  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • Advanced Statistical Mechanics
  • General Theory of Relativity
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology
  • Thin Film and Integrated Devices
  • Superconductivity: Conventional and High Temperature Superconductors

There are other electives too as you have noticed in the syllabus. There are also two seminar presentations that you have to give in the first two semesters.

Major and Minor Projects

In the final semester, there are two types of projects offered to the students. The major project is a full fledged 24 credits project work that you have to undertake for an entire semester. You won’t be doing any coursework if you have chosen to do a major project. You can either do the project at the department under one of the faculty members or you can go to a different institute. Many students from my senior batch as well as my batch went to places like IUAC, RRCAT, SINP, DU and NISER to do their major projects. If you have an opportunity like that, I would suggest you take it as it will add a boost to your profile. You can also get references from such institutes which will aid you in your PhD applications.

There is a second option called minor project. If you are interested in doing some coursework then you can opt for a 12 credits project. But if you choose this option, then you will have to study 3 subjects worth 4 credits each to account for the remaining 12 credits in the curriculum. I chose this option because I wanted to showcase some coursework in my resume. My project was in the subject of cosmology. In addition to working on the project, I did three courses viz. Astrophysics, Nonlinear Dynamics and Superconductivity.

There will be a project viva taken by an external examiner at the end of your project. Make sure that your presentation is precise and concise because you won’t get too much time to get into details especially if the examiner has a different specialization compared to the subject in which you have done your project.

Difficulty Level

Now this is a very curious question. Was it difficult for me to do my MSc after B.Tech? Well, I would answer that with a yes. However, this answer is not generic. It is a very personal one. I am saying it because one of my juniors who is also a B.Tech graduate doesn’t find it difficult at all and he is one of the toppers in his class. I believe that any difficulty in the coursework could be related to how fresh your mind is. If you are a fresh graduate or only have 2 or 3 years of gap after your B.Tech, your mind is still fresh and you are young. My case was totally different. When I started preparing for MSc entrances, there were so many things from which I was out of touch. In 12th std and in the first two years of engineering, we learn so much mathematics. But by the time I started my entrance preparation, most of those mathematical concepts had faded away. Relearning them was the most difficult task in my opinion. Quantum mechanics was also slightly hard to digest in the beginning. I never learned QM in my B.Tech and it was a totally new experience. It was much later that I grasped the meaning of the statement, “never try to understand quantum mechanics“.

Another difficulty I faced was unlearning the engineering way of thinking and learning the physics way of thinking. Even though physicists and engineers have the same intellectual capacity, the perspective that both disciplines instil in their students is very different. You can’t ask a physicist to build a bridge and you can’t ask an engineer to sit and indulge in abstract theoretical thoughts. They both require different parts of the brain. However, it is certainly possible to switch if the situation demands it. I am glad and proud that I can now switch to both ways of thinking whenever needed.

Now that I have completed my MSc, I am confident that I can tackle any subject in physics. The two years you spend studying in an institute will certainly rewire your brain and I am happy that it did.

Advantages of B.Tech

This my friends is where I am going to make all B.Tech graduates happy. We are first and foremost engineers. We build things ranging from large scale structures to computer software. Throughout our B.Tech curriculum, one thing that is taught always is to gain practical skills that can be readily used to solve problems. My B.Tech degree combined with my corporate experience gave me so many advantages over regular physics graduates who were studying with me. The most important among those were computing and communication skills.

While I faced difficulties in the coursework, when it came to computing, I was the king in the class. People used to look at me as if I am some kind of alien because coding and other computer related activities came naturally to me. Whenever there was a computing issue, I was the first person people called. Many students had sought my help in making presentations and other things and I was always ready to help.

In the final semester, my instructor asked me to learn LaTeX and I learned it in about 4 hours and wrote my project dissertation in it. I never learned LaTeX before that in my life and I just learned it without any problems. To my knowledge only 4 students in my class wrote their dissertation in LaTeX while everyone else wrote in MS Word.  In my project, the initial work was learning cosmology in a computing perspective. From Day – 1 I was sitting and coding in Python to simulate galaxies as point objects. And every day I visited my project guide and reported on my progress (Yes! Every single day!) This comes from my corporate experience where I had to work under pressure to achieve targets within time limits to make my bosses happy.

For my project I also had to learn a software called Galacticus which in my opinion is the most difficult software that I have encountered till date. It is a Linux-based tool that generates plots related to galaxy formation and evolution. If I didn’t have the advantage of my computing background, I don’t think I would have been able to do anything with that software.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not indulging in self praise. I am just pointing out the advantages I had which helped me balance my disadvantages. Yes, there were few physics students who were equally skilled in computing. But compared to the majority in my class, I did have my advantages.

Living in Mahendragarh

If you decide that you don’t want to live on campus or anywhere near it but in the township of Mahendragarh and travel to the university daily then my suggestion is to take a room that has an attached kitchen and cook your own food. In Delhi you get something called “one room set” which is a combination of a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom but I didn’t see those in Mahendragarh. There is a food problem in Mahendragarh. It is very difficult to get tasty and healthy food that would satisfy your nutritional needs. There are a few restaurants but they are just “okay” type i.e. not too great. I had taken a room in one of those “PG accommodations” where food was provided but it was a bad idea as the cook didn’t know what he was doing. I would much rather cook my own food. My advice to you is to do the same. If two or three people can take a house and run it properly with cooking food and maintaining the rooms, it would be the best. I have seen tiffin services but never tried them so I can’t comment on their quality. There are laundry services available so if you don’t like to waste time washing clothes then you can avail those.

The town has two supermarkets and one elaborate market that resembles Sarojini or Lajpat Nagar except on a much smaller scale and lesser quality. There are also home appliances and furniture shops. I bought my table from one of them which was a good deal for me. There are tailoring and bag repair centers and also clothing and utensils shops. There are also many medical stores and hospitals in case of emergencies.

Winters can be as cruel as the summers or even worse and therefore you must be prepared for those. And regarding power failures, I would refrain from commenting on it because it is pointless.

Conclusion

So, do I recommend the physics department of CUH as a place for higher education? Absolutely yes! If you want to do your MSc there, go ahead. You won’t be disappointed. But as I said, there are better options out there and you may want to keep CUH as a backup option just in case you won’t make it to the other places. Most of my readers I am sure are young and energetic and can do much better than me in their academics and thus get their admissions in premier institutions either in India and abroad.

There are many engineers who have made it to the world of physics before me and some of them did it really spectacularly. There is another blogger who has written about their stories. You can read about them here.

If there is any feedback, suggestions or queries you are welcome to comment below. In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that in addition to commenting on my previous article, some students had contacted me via social media. You can certainly contact me via social media if you want to talk to me directly. I am very active on Instagram and you can follow me here if you like.

I will be writing a future post about what it is like when you embark into academia after you have crossed 30. It was a funny as well as annoying experience for me and if you are an aged candidate there are certain things that you must know before you make the same decision as me. So that’s it from me today. Thanks for reading!

Business Degree in Renewable Energy Management

Getting a masters degree in business administration is the dream of many undergraduate students. An MBA enables them to try their hand in the daunting world of business where competence and love for money are paramount qualities expected. However, the question that many students could have in their mind is, “MBA in what?” Throughout my life, I have seen people doing MBA from various institutes in India and abroad. All of them however do it in Finance, Marketing, HR and IT. Most of my friends from my undergraduate days ended up doing an MBA in order to become Business Analysts in IT or banking sectors. It was not until a few years ago that someone suggested me to do an MBA that I started thinking whether there exists an MBA in fields other than what I mentioned.

I don’t recall whether it was by sheer accident or because of my obsession with a famous actress, I happened to come across an MBA program in energy management online especially in Renewable or Green Energy management. I mentioned the actress because her Wikipedia article mentions that she uses renewable energy to power her house. Somehow while browsing around the internet, I stumbled upon this possibility. It is not very common for someone to specialize in energy management as a business degree. For one thing it is futuristic and people are a little wary about investing their time and money in educational programs that are futuristic due to the risk factors involved.

I had no intention of doing an MBA as I wanted to study science. But my curious mind couldn’t stay idle and I went ahead researching what this program was all about. I thought that perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea to do a business degree if it suits my way of thinking and this one seemed to do exactly that. My online search for information about MBA in energy management brought me to many websites of institutes (42 of them to be exact). They offer masters level degrees like Executive MBA, MScMBA, International Mini MBA, REM-HSG, International MBA, PGPEM, Global Executive or just plain MBA. The funny thing is that 8 of them are in India and I never heard about it.

A business degree in renewable energy management makes the candidate capable of finding solutions to energy problems in the world such as rising oil prices, climate change and lack of efficient technology to exploit renewable energy sources. Already scientists are developing new ways to harness power from sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. The rising use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar farms generate more jobs in this sector whereby giving opportunities to graduates who do this type of degree. Renewable energy management also involves helping business operate using the power generated through renewable resources in an efficient manner.

In short, meeting the growing energy demands while simultaneously protecting the environment is a challenge that the MBA graduates in energy management will face. The curriculum of most of these institutes teaches students business fundamentals along with specific problems facing energy industry. The graduates will be made aware of the business aspects of renewable energy along with its impact on environment. The advantage of this type of MBA is that the syllabus focuses on practicality and results instead of just theoretical learning. Thus the skills acquired can be immediately put into practice.

Students will be taught things like rain water harvesting and managing wind and solar farms. The jobs that an MBA graduate of this sort would do include:

  • Business Leadership
  • International Sales Management
  • Energy Facility Management
  • Technology Consultancy
  • Technology Assessment
  • Structural Development
  • Environmental Protection Work
  • Business Consulting

Some institutes also offer PhD degrees for candidates interested in pursuing research. Green Business is what experts call the renewable energy sector. Anyway, here is the list of 42 institutes from around the world that offer a business degree in green energy management:

 

School Degree Specialization Country
Norweigean School of Business Executive MBA Energy Norway
Curtin University MScMBA Energy Economics Australia
Energy Delta Institute International Mini MBA Energy Transition and Innovation The Netherlands
Maastricht School of
Management
MBA Energy Management The Netherlands
Beuth Hochschule Fur Technik
Berlin
MBA Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Germany
International School of
Management
MBA Energy Management Germany
European School of Management
and Technology
MBA Global Sustainable Business Germany
Jacobs University MBA European Utility Management Germany
University of St. Gallen REM-HSG Renewable Energy Management Switzerland
Athabasca University MBA Energy Industries and Markets Canada
University of Calgary Executive MBA Global Energy Canada
University of Alberta MBA Natural Resources Energy & Environment Canada
Danube University Krems MBA Energy and Carbon Management Austria
Vienna University of Economics
and Business
MBA Energy Management Austria
HEC School of Management Executive MBA Management in an Energy-Concerned Economy France
International Space University Executive MBA Space Business France
Ipag Business School MBA Energy and Sustainable Development Management France
University of Vaasa MBA Energy Business Finland
University of Bologna MBA Green Energy and Sustainable Business Italy
London School of Business and
Finance
MBA Oil, Gas and Energy Management UK
University of Warwick MBA Global Energy UK
Lancaster University Business
School
MBA Biofuels and Renewable Energy UK
University of Strathclyde MBA Global Energy Industry UK
University of Aberdeen MBA Oil and Gas Management UK
City of London College MBA Energy Management UK
University of East London MBA Sustainability and Energy Management UK
Athens University of Economics
and Business
International MBA Energy and Sustainability Club Greece
University of Nicosia MBA Oil, Gas and Energy Management Cyprus
The Cyprus Institute of
Marketing
MBA Energy Management Cyprus
Vistula University Executive MBA Energy Management Poland
St. Petersburg University Executive MBA Management in an Energy-Concerned Economy Russia
Continental University MBA Energy and Sustainable Development Ukraine
Asian Institute of Technology MBA Energy Business Thailand
IIM Ranchi PGPEM Energy Management India
National Power Training
Institute
MBA Power Management India
Pandit Deendayal Petroleum
University
MBA Energy and Infrastructure India
Rajiv Gandhi Institute of
Petroleum Technology
MBA Petroleum and Energy Management India
Symbiosis Center For
International Education
MBA Energy and Environment Business India
Thapar University MBA Environmental and Energy Management India
University of Petroleum and
Energy Studies
MBA Energy Trading India
Great Lakes Institute of
Management
Global Executive MBA Energy Management India
Asian Institute of Technology
and Management
MBA Energy Business Nepal

 

Some of these institutes offer campus based degree while others offer an online degree. You can check their respective websites for more information. While compiling this list, I followed the order of sorting the countries according to their Human Development Index (HDI). Therefore the countries listed on the top are the most developed with the highest standard of living and therefore the best education that you can get. I am not saying that the MBA in our country is bad but in case you wish to move to a country with better living standards, then you may opt for countries listed at the top of the list.

I will be updating this list as and when I come across new information. Until then whatever queries you may have, you are welcome to comment that there and I will try my best to answer them. I hope this article was helpful. Good luck!

A Simple Chicken Mappas Recipe

chicken mappas with vellayappam

Chicken Mappas with Vellayappam

Today’s blog post is about a very delicious and comparatively easy to prepare chicken dish from Kerala known as “Chicken Mappas”. Mappas is a broad category of dishes which can be prepared with fish, chicken, mutton and even beef. I am unsure of the origin of this word “Mappas” but my best guess is that it is Middle Eastern. The reason for my guess is that when I was in Bangalore, I used to frequent a restaurant called Savoury Sea Shell in Bannerghatta Road. They had a rich collection of Middle Eastern dishes and one of them was an Arabian Chicken Soup. The bits of chicken were suspended in a thick whitish solution which I think was made of coconut milk. The gravy of Chicken Mappas sort of reminded me of it. Therefore I concluded that Chicken Mappas is a fusion of Middle Eastern and Keralite Cuisines. If you have some disagreement regarding what I said or have some information about the origins of this category of dishes, please let me know in the comments.

Ingredients

To prepare Chicken Mappas, you need the following ingredients:

Main Cooking:

  • Chicken (cut in small pieces) – 500 grams
  • Onions (long sliced) – 2
  • Tomatoes (sliced) – 2
  • Ginger (sliced) – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic (sliced) – 6 cloves
  • Green Chilli (chopped) – 6
  • Coriander Powder – 1 1/2 ½ Teaspoon
  • Garam Masala – 1 Tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Pepper (crushed) – 1 Tablespoon
  • Coconut Milk (secondary) – 1 cup
  • Coconut Milk (primary) – 1/2 cup
  • Fennel Seeds Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves – 4 branches
  • Coconut Oil – 2 Tablespoons
  • Salt – 2 Teaspoons (can vary as per your taste)

Tempering (Tadka):

  • Coconut Oil – 1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
  • Shallots (sliced) – 8

Preparation

  • Wash the chicken pieces well (you may use turmeric while washing it) and keep it on a filter to dry
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon crushed pepper
  • Mix it well and let it marinate for about 15 minutes
  • Add 2 tablespoons of coconut into a frying pan
  • Add the onion slices and sauté in medium flame for about 2 minutes
  • Add the sliced ginger and garlic and cook until the onions change color slightly
  • Add the chopped green chilli and mix it well
  • Add the turmeric and coriander powder and mix again
  • Cook until the raw smell of turmeric and coriander fades
  • Add 1 branch of curry leaves
  • Add half of the sliced tomato and cook for about 2 minutes
  • Add the fennel seeds powder and mix
  • Add the chicken pieces and mix well
  • Add salt and mix
  • Add the next branch of curry leaves
  • Bring the mixture to the center of the pan and close the lid
  • Reduce the flame to low and let it sit for 5 minutes
  • Add the secondary coconut milk and mix well and close the lid
  • Increase the flame to medium and let it sit for 20 – 25 minutes (occasionally open the lid and stir to avoid charring)
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon crushed pepper and mix again
  • Add the remaining sliced tomato and 1 branch of curry leaves
  • Mix well for a minute
  • Add the primary coconut milk mix for about a minute and turn off the flame
  • Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil into another frying pan
  • Add mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds start bursting, add the sliced shallots
  • When the shallots turn brown, add 1 branch of curry leaves and mix well to form the tadka
  • Add the tadka to the mappas and let it sit for a couple of minutes
  • Transfer the mappas to your serving bowl

chicken mappasThere are a few things to keep in mind while preparing Chicken Mappas. The pepper shouldn’t be powdered. You must crush the black pepper seeds in a pestle. However, you may choose to use ginger-garlic paste if you don’t like slicing them. Coconut oil is what you need to use to prepare this dish. I haven’t tried other oils but you are welcome to experiment and let me know the results.

Chicken Mappas is exceptionally tasty and usually is eaten as an accomplice for Appam, Idiyappam or Ari Pathiri. You may also try it as a side dish for fried rice. Bon appetit!


Extra Delicious Andhra Chicken Recipe!

Andhra Pradesh is a region known for its spicy yummy chicken recipes. I don’t think there is anybody who hasn’t tasted the Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani. Anyway, the chicken recipe that I am going to describe in this article is less spicy but still incredibly tasty. If you are a fan of such a dish, then read on. The ingredients for this dish are readily available in any market. My dad prepared this first time about 2 years ago. Today being Choti Diwali and me being at my aunt’s house I thought I should give it a try. I rang up my dad in the morning and he sent me this recipe. Here it goes:

Ingredients

(You may modify this according to the quantity of chicken you bought.)

  • Chicken (cut in medium pieces) – 800 gm
  • Onion (cut in long thin pieces) – 1
  • Tomato (cut in four pieces) – 2
  • Ginger (one inch piece) – 1
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Poppy Seeds (Khus Khus) – 3 Teaspoons (soaked in water for 10 to 12 minutes)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder – 1 Teaspoon
  • Saffron – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Lemon Juice – 2 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder – 1 Tablespoon
  • Cooking Oil – 5 Tablespoon
  • Coconut (small)  – 1
  • Curd (yogurt) – 1 cup
  • Salt – To taste

The utensil that you must use for this preparation is a frying pan with thick bottom. Wide area is required as the water needs to boil out. (Many vendors inject water into the chicken meat to increase it’s mass. This can add extra water to your dish, so be careful.)

Preparation

  • Scrape the coconut and collect the coconut milk (if this is not possible, ready made coconut milk is available.)
  • Heat the oil in the frying pan
  • Add the ginger, garlic and soaked Poppy Seeds into the oil
  • After a couple of minutes add the onion pieces and fry until light golden brown
  • Add the tomato slices and fry for 1 minute
  • Reduce the flame
  • Add coriander powder and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add chicken pieces
  • Add the turmeric and chilly powder
  • Add salt
  • Cook for 5 to 7 minutes in medium flame
  • Add curd and mix well
  • Once the curd has been absorbed well into the curry, add saffron
  • Add coconut milk
  • Wait until the gravy becomes moderately thick
  • Turn off the flame
  • Add lemon juice before serving (optional)

So this is the recipe. I hope you will love it. If there is any doubt or feedback, please feel free to comment below. Bon appetit!

Yes! You can study Physics after Engineering!

Yes, you read the title right. It is indeed possible to become a physicist after you have completed your undergraduate degree in engineering (BE, B.Tech or BS). In fact it is a good way of switching fields if you feel that engineering is not your cup of tea and pure and applied sciences would have been a better option. Sadly, it is often frowned upon by people when someone wants to switch from engineering to physics. The good news however is that there are many institutes and universities both in India and abroad that allow engineers to pursue a masters degree and doctorate in physics if they so choose.

Before I get to the crux of the matter, I need to issue a warning. It is not an easy task to switch from engineering to physics. Most institutes require the candidate to have an understanding of basic physics so as to crack the entrance examinations and/or the interview thereafter. However, we have plenty of coaching institutes in our country that train anyone interested in physics with the required materials. I am not going to endorse any particular coaching center but if you are interested and your pocket allows you, then it would be great if you can join one of those centers. If instead you wish to do self study for the entrance examinations, there is an abundance of materials available for you online and otherwise.

So, why switch from engineering to physics? Frankly speaking, physics offers less money compared to engineering. If you are a computer science graduate, you can literally mint money while working in the corporate sector. But there are certain types of people (including me) who are much more passionate about the universe and its workings and putting such people in engineering is simply going to make them miserable. They might become good engineers but at the back of their head there will always be a feeling that they could have done better in pure science. If you are one of those, then read on as this can be an eye opener.

Few years ago when I expressed my interest in switching fields from engineering to physics, I had to go through the same “Indian mentality” comments from everywhere. People simply cannot get their head around the fact that one’s passion is just as important as career prospects. I can give you a couple of scenarios. If you want to do an MBA after your B.Tech, nobody bats eyelid. If you want to do Civil Service after your B.Tech, nobody says anything either. If you want to write bank exams after your B.Tech, even then nobody will say anything. But the moment you tell people that you want to pursue physics, astronomy, oceanography or some other field related to pure and applied science, suddenly people react to it asking “Why do you want to do physics?

Anyway, the following are the institutes in India and abroad that allow engineers to pursue an advanced degree in physics or related subjects:

Programme Institute City Country
Postgraduate Programme in Astrophysics Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Canary Islands Spain
MSc. In Physics and Astronomy Ruhr-Universität Bochum Bochum Germany
Master in Space Sciences and Technology Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg Würzburg Germany
Astronomy and Astrophysics MSc by Research The University of Manchester Manchester England
Masters Degree in Physics University of Basel Basel Switzerland
MSc/Diploma in Astrophysics Queen Mary University of London London England
MSc in Astronomy Western University London Canada
MSc in Physics and Astronomy Chalmers University of Technology Göteborg Sweden
MS in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Rochester Institute of Technology New York United States
MSc in Astronomy Swinburne University of Technology Melbourne Australia
MSc in Physics & Astronomy York University Toronto Canada
MS in Space Studies University of North Dakota Grand Forks United States
MSc in Space Studies International Space University Strausbourg France
Master Programme in Space Science and Technology Lulea University of Technology Lulea Sweden
MS in Space Sciences Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne United States
Master degree “Astronomical and Space-based Systems Engineering” Observatoire de Paris-Meudon Paris France
Physics (M.Sc.) University of Duisburg-Essen Essen Germany
M.Sc in Physics Central University of Haryana Mahendragarh India
MSc Physics (EuroMasters) University of Surrey Surrey England
MS in Astronomy and Astrophysics Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram India
MSc in Physics University of Pune Pune India
MSc. Physics Lovely Professional Univesity Phagwara India
M.Sc Course in Physics University of Delhi New Delhi India
M.Sc in Physics Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi India
PhD in Physics Tata Institute of Fundamental ResearchMBA Mumbai India
PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics Pune India
PhD in Physics Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Various India

 

A caveat I take here is that I compiled the list of foreign institutes almost 5 years ago. I am not sure of the accuracy of these today. However, at the time of compilation of this list, all these institutes had written in their respective websites that they take engineering graduates for a masters degree in physics, astronomy or related subjects. I suggest you contact these institutes individually and find out.

In addition to these institutes, there are institutes that fall under the “may be” category. That is those institutes that may take an engineer for a masters or doctorate programme in physics. It will depend on their requirements and your eligibility. But I will provide a list of such institutes as well just in case:

  • University of Groningen – Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Leuven, Belgium
  • University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • International University in Bremen – Bremen, Germany
  • University of Southern Queensland – Toowoomba, Australia
  • University of Oulu – Oulu, Finland
  • University of Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire, England
  • University of Glasgow – Glasgow, Scotland
  • Heidelberg University – Heidelberg, Germany
  • University of Bonn – Bonn, Germany
  • Aarhus University – Aarhus, Denmark
  • Copenhagen University – Copenhagen,    Denmark
  • University of British Columbia – Vancouver, Canada
  • University of Calgary – Calgary, Canada
  • University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, Canada
  • Queen’s University – Kingston, Canada
  • Universite Paris Diderot – Paris, France
  • University of Sussex – Sussex, England
  • Curtin University – Bentley, Australia
  • University of Adelaide – Adelaide, Australia
  • University of Oslo – Oslo, Norway
  • University of Tromso – Tromso, Norway
  • University of Silesia – Katowice, Poland
  • Rheinische Friedrich – Whilhelms Univeritat Bonn – Bonn, Germany
  • Jacobs University Bremen – Bremen, Germany
  • University of Helsinki – Helsinki, Finland
  • University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • University of Ferrara – Ferrara, Italy
  • People’s Friendship University – Moscow, Russia
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg – Nuremberg, Germany
  • University of Rostock – Rostock, Germany
  • Technische Universität München – Munich, Germany
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – Munich, Germany
  • Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena – Jena, Germany
  • Technical University of Vienna – Vienna, Austria
  • Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy – Cologne, Germany
  • University of Trieste – Trieste, Italy
  • University of Trento – Trento, Italy
  • University of Bologna – Bologna, Italy
  • University of Cergy-Pontoise – Cergy-Pontoise, France
  • Ecole normale supérieure    Paris    France
  • Stockholm University    Stockholm    Sweden
  • Monash University    Melbourne    Australia
  • University of Tokyo    Tokyo    Japan
  • University of Nagoya – Nagoya, Japan
  • University of Osaka – Osaka, Japan
  • University of Keio – Tokyo, Japan
  • ETH Zurich – Zurich, Switzerland
  • University of Jyvaskyla – Jyvaskyla, Finland
  • University of Milan – Milan, Italy
  • University of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
  • University of Turin – Turin, Italy
  • Kings College – London, England
  • University of Toronto – Toronto, Canada
  • University of Alberta – Alberta, Canada
  • University of Ottawa – Ottawa, Canada
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology – Tokyo, Japan
  • University Observatory Munich – Munich, Germany
  • University of Marburg – Marburg, Germany
  • National University of Singapore – Singapore

Mind you, this list is in the “may be” category. Unlike the previous lists, these universities may or may not admit engineers for a science programme. So don’t come and complain here if your application gets rejected by any of these universities. In fact I don’t take guarantee for the previous lists either. Your admission to any institute in the world is a sum total of a variety of parameters and your ability in qualifying each one of them. No university is obliged to take you just because you applied. However, switching fields to physics after engineering is a long sought after information among many aspirants especially in India and I thought that I should write this article.

If you have noticed, the lists here do not follow any particular order. They are not arranged according to country or rankings of universities. The reason is that the list wasn’t compiled in a day. It was the culmination of many years of searching. Thus this list was made as and when I found relevant information. I am sure you have experienced posting on some physics forums about your interest in switching fields to physics and the backlash that comes from the “intellectuals” of those forums. All you get is some mockery and misinformation. For sometime, I had to face that until I decided to figure this out myself. It was not easy but it was fun finding information. I started putting whatever information I could find in an excel sheet. I think it is time to give out this information so that any engineer out there who wants to switch fields to pure science can do so with as little hassle as possible.

If you have any doubts regarding what I mentioned here, feel free to comment. I believe that I have done my part in telling you where to get what you want. The rest is up to you. Prepare well for the entrance examinations of these institutes and apply on time. The time has finally arrived for you to pursue your dreams. All the best!

Update:

I have written a sequel to this article describing my experience doing MSc Physics. You can read it here – https://www.iampleasant.com/2018/09/msc-physics-after-b-tech-in-information-technology/