Friday, December 04, 2015

ABHAS MITRA- Head (Retd.), Theoretical Astrophysics Section, Astrophysical Sciences Division, BARC, Mumbai, INDIA



Prof. Abhas Mitra


About Prof. Abhas Mitra 



Prof. Abhas Mitra (born on June 03, 1955 at Belur, West Bengal), is Head, Theoretical Astrophysics Section, Astrophysical Sciences Division (APSD), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai -400094, since 2005; Technically, Scientific Officer (H+). Ph.D. guide (Physics) for Mumbai University & Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) where he is an Adjunct Professor. he has completed their basic Educational Qualifications: (i) M.Sc. (Physics), 1st Class, University of Kolkata (1977). But results came in 1979 because of ultra-left political turmoil. (ii) BARC Training School, 23rd Batch (3rd in Physics stream): Aug 1979 – July 1980. This was more than a M. Phil degree. (iii) Ph.D. Thesis entitled ``A New Theory of Ultra High Energy Gamma Ray Production In Cygnus X-3’’ was ready for submission to Kashmir University in 1990. But because of militant uprising, this could not be done. Later an updated thesis was submitted in Mumbai University, & degree obtained in 1994. This thesis contained all single authored papers in leading international journals and hence equivalent to a D.Sc. degree (guide was only an official formality).
He is one of the rare astrophysicists in the world whose research has spanned such a wide range:
  •  Gamma Ray Astronomy, X-ray Binaries & Millisecond pulsars, Cosmic Gamma Ray Bursts, Diffusive Shock Acceleration, General Relativity, Gravitational Collapse, Various aspects of Cosmology, Classical Mechanics. He happens to be only Relativistic Astrophysicist & Cosmologist in the 67 year history of BARC.
  • Initiated serious research in Theoretical Astrophysics singlehandedly not only in APSD/BARC but also in the state of J&K of India by braving immense difficulties.
  • First to show that photo-meson process could be the leading source of high energy cosmic
  • gamma-rays in some X-ray binaries. His research on Cygnus X-3 got cited in Nature News & Views (P.S. Conti, Nature 355, 680, 1992).Another paper on Cygnus X-3, got discussed in the prestigious international magazine Sky & Telescope in 1998: http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/906966/questioning-cygnus-x-3s-black-hole  In India, he pioneered the theoretical research on Cosmic Gamma Ray Bursts. He was the first ever speaker (amongst only 12 worldwide) from India in famous (1995), 3rd Huntsville Gamma Ray Burst Conf: http://gammaray.nsstc.nasa.gov/events/3hgrbs/abstracts/models.html
  •   One of the very few BARC scientists who has delivered prestigious ``Wednesday Colloquium’’ in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (On Gamma Ray Burst research).


Prof. Abhas Mitra selected for European Commission – DST (India) Post Doc position to work with Prof. (Sir) Martin Rees (later Astronomer Royale), Cambridge University, in 1992. But this did not materialize in the absence of a formal Ph.D. degree. His career in BARC did not offer any scope for formal teaching. However, he is competent to teach all areas of physics (except biological physics) at any level.

Prof. Abhas Mitra is one of the rare active Indian scientists who write blogs on own research in astrophysics & cosmology from various platforms:
·         https://eternalblogs.wordpress.com/
He is the administrator of 3 Facebook pages promoting astrophysics & cosmology:
·         https://www.facebook.com/groups/180463648732274/ (Cosmology Without Prejudice)
·         https://www.facebook.com/EternallyCollapsingObject
·         https://www.facebook.com/MECONOTBH
In addition, he regularly participates in various astrophysics/cosmology debates in Facebook groups like ``Astronomy’’, ``Cosmology’’, ``Astrophysics & Physics’’.

He has been invited as Key Speakers or Guests by many organizations in past 10 years. On several occasions, he has answered innumerable queries on various topics of physics & astrophysics from gathering of around ten thousand school students. In 2013-14, he was invited by Guwahati University, M S University, Baroda and IIT Kharagpur to address students on his research:
http://www.msu-footprints.org/2014/kaleidoscope/dr-abhas-mitra/
https://www.facebook.com/events/317525788425216/ (Prof. Somnath Sengupta Memorial Lecture)


·       Presently NASA operates the space borne Gamma Ray Telescope ``Fermi’’ whose original name was GLAST. The science brochure of GLAST cited only one paper of Indian origin which is  by R. Kaul & A. Mitra:

As a Section Head, he gave full academic freedom to younger colleagues to pursue their independent research problems, and did away with the frequent practice of having the name of the ``boss’’ as one of the coauthors (otherwise his list of publication could have been much longer)! He has visited labs/universities/conferences in USA, UK, Russia, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany: where he gave lectures, plenary/invited talks on own research. He is involved in the simulation & development of new data analysis program (Random Forest Method) for the MACE project (one of the largest Gamma Ray Telescope of the world) at Hanle, Ladakh (in collaboration with TIFR & Indian Institute Astronomy).


He is the first physicist to not only show/claim that the so-called ``Black Holes’’ (a crucial concept in Astrophysics & Physics for 100 years) cannot be true black holes, but also suggested the most likely nature of such objects. This research is based on series of peer reviewed and uncontested publications in journals such as Found. Phys. Lett., Pramana, Advan. Sp. Sc.,  Astrophys. Sp. Sc., New Astronomy, Int. J. Mod. Phys. D., J. Math. Phys, IJAA, JMP, Phys. Rev. D., Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. Lett.

His research has shown that though the Black Hole solution is formally correct, the pertinent Integration Constant is zero implying true BHs (point particles) have gravitational mass M=0, and therefore the so-called BHs having M>0 cannot be true BHs. On the other hand, his research has shown that, as massive objects keep on contracting, at some stage, the outward pressure of trapped radiation must be able to counteract the inward pull of gravity to result in quasi-static ultra-compact hot objects which nonetheless keep on contracting indefinitely (Eternally Collapsing Objects: ECO). Astrophysical ECOs are likely to be ultra-magnetized too (MECOs)  And now there are many evidences that many BH candidates possess strong magnetic field which cannot be due to effect of surrounding accretion disks. For instance see: Surprisingly Strong Magnetic Fields Challenge Black Holes’ Pull or ``Dynamically important magnetic fields near accreting supermassive black holes’’ (Nature, 510, 126, 2014). Accordingly, his BH research has been discussed widely both at national & international levels. Please see section 4 in details.




1. SENIOR VISITING POSITIONS:

Worked as a visiting professor in Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, Germany in 2006. Got qualified as an USA National Research Council SENIOR ASSOCIATE, High Energy Astrophysics Group, Goddard Space Flight Centre, NASA in 2004. But Indian scientists were informally banned in US Govt. Labs following Pokhran II nuclear explosion by India.



2.  PROFESSIONAL HONORS:


·         Distinguished Alumnus of Mumbai University: Only BARC scientist on this list apart from H.J. Bhabha, H. Sethna, R. Ramanna & A. Kakodkar (who all were Directors& Chairmen, DAE): http://www.mu.ac.in/alumni.html

·         Most Searched  Living ``Indian Physicist’’ on the Web (C.V. Raman, S.N. Bose, H.J. Bhabha, S. Chandrasekhar, M.N. Saha, Abhas  Mitra, Ashoke  Sen…) (Google with ``Indian Physicist’’). While this does not mean that his research is very well cited, it nonetheless shows that the same has evoked widespread popular interest.

·         Interviewed on BBC Radio in 2001 for research showing so-called ``Black Holes’’ cannot be true black holes. Interviewed on an Australian Radio Channel for the same reason in 2014. Also interviewed by several TV channels like NDTV, Headlines Today, Aaj Tak etc (2004).

·         In 2006, Harvard Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics Press Release ``NEW PICTURE OF QUASAR EMERGES’’ admitted that the concept that the so-called ``Black Holes’’ are actually ultra-compact, ultra-magnetized hot balls of plasma/fire, is originally due to ``Abhas Mitra’’ (a rare event in Indian science).

·         His research in General Relativity and Cosmology featured as full page SCIENCE NEWS in Nature India five times (2001-13).

·         1st prize in Young Physicist Colloquium organized by Indian Physical Society in 1989. In the 40 yr history of APSD, this happens to be the only award won by any scientist from outside BARC (as of 2015). Also shared BARC’s Group Achievement Award for up-gradation of TACTIC Gamma Ray Telescope in 2012.

·         Member of International Astronomical Union (IAU) since 2000; presently only IAU member from APSD & BARC.  Also a life member of Astronomical Society of India, Indian Physics Association, Nuclear Society of India.  Full Member of American Astronomical Society (1992-94). Full membership of AAS requires Ph.D.; but in view of superior research credentials, AAS waived formal Ph.D. requirement.
·         One paper ``Sources of Stellar Energy….’’ (New Astronomy, 2006) was selected as one of the Highlight Publications of Max Planck Society in 2007.

·         Has worked a reviewer for Astrophysical J., Astrophysical J. (Letter), General Relativity & Gravitation, Int. J. of Modern Phys. (D), Int. J. of Theoretical Physics, Int. J. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, J. Modern Physics, Astrophysics & Space Science, Indian J. of Physics, Current Science, Pramana, Turkish J. Phys, J. A&A, Physics Essays, and several other journals. Has worked as a reviewer for research projects for fund granting Govt agencies like BRNS (India) and similar agency of Chile. Editorial Board Member of some journals.



3.  SUMMARY OF RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS:


·         67 Journal Papers out of which 61 are a single author or leading author publications. Most publications contain significant new/novel or outstanding results.

·         18 Full fledge research papers published in Cornell University Electronic Preprint archive or elsewhere (again mostly single authored): many could not be published in journals because of lack of time.

·         49 Conference Publications  (Invited Talks, Oral Presentations, Posters)

·         1 Invited Book Chapter comprising 94-page article.



As per ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Abhas_Mitra,

 Impact Point (IP) of the journal papers is 210. Since most of them are a single author, the IP/Author is ~200, which is high by not only, BARC or Indian standards, but by international standard too. The average IP/Author of other APSD scientists is ~10, the same for BARC scientists/engineers is probably ~3.







4. BLACK HOLE ALTERNATIVE

He is the first physicist to not only show/claim that the so-called ``Black Holes’’ (a crucial concept in Astrophysics & Physics for 100 years) cannot be true black holes, but also suggested the most likely nature of such objects. Details about BH research at national & international levels


Indian Physicist AbhasMitra Claims he Resolved Black Hole Paradox Years before Stephen Hawking (International Business Times, 2014)
No Black Holes After All? (World Science, 2006)

Following his pioneering research, since, 2001, various other researchers too started claiming that ``There cannot be true black holes or gravitational collapse should be singularity free’’, though such researchers would avoid citing the pioneer. Only few examples below:

  Black holes 'do not exist' (Nature News, 2005)
No More Black Holes? (SCIENCE, 2007)



5. RESEARCH IN COSMOLOGY:

For the first time he obtained the ``Curvature Form’’ of the FRW metric used to describe an isotropic & homogeneous universe. Also, for the first time, he derived the FRW metric by actually solving all relevant Einstein equations rather than by relying on geometric arguments.



 DARK ENERGY:

The 2011 Nobel Prize in physics involved the concept of a mysterious cosmic repulsive force called ``Dark Energy’’.  Any many leading cosmologists including (G F R Ellis) have argued that ``Dark Energy’’ might be an artifact of ``back reaction’’ of a real universe which is significantly inhomogeneous. Such an idea has been confirmed by 4 research papers by him which have shown that, the most likely candidate for Dark Energy, namely, the Cosmological Constant of Einstein, is exactly zero.



COSMIC INFLATION:

His 2 papers in General Relativity & Gravitation and New Astronomy have shown that in order that energy density of the FRW universe (including matter & field) is unique, it can expand only in a unique linear fashion. This exact result rules out the hypothesis of ``Cosmic Inflation’’, and accordingly, he insisted that the 2014 BICEP2 claim of confirmation of ``Cosmic Inflation’’ must be incorrect. In 2015, his prediction has been re-confirmed: Cosmic inflation theory of Big Bang bites the space dust (Nature, Feb 02, 2015).





Unknown Inhomogeneous Universe: 

In 2014, his paper in Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc, showed that a linearly expanding Big Bang universe is actually vacuumed and the ``expansion’’ is a mathematical illusion, a coordinate effect. In effect, this means that only pure vacuum can be perfectly homogeneous & isotropic. In other words, the real universe containing galaxies must be inhomogeneous and complex. Indeed, the study of cosmic gamma ray bursts at largest scales (3 Gpc, z=2) indicates that the universe is inhomogeneous and lumpy.
His research on cosmology has been published in IJAA, JMP, Astrophys.Sp.Sc.,New Astron, GRC, GC, Results in Phys., Nature Sc. Rep., IJMPD, JCAP and MNRAS, and has drawn intense media attention:

``Indian physicist questions 'Big Bang' basics’’ (Nature India, 2012)
(Actually, Indian physicist challenges Nobel laureate’s claim of Dark Energy)
``Indian Scientist Contests ``Big Bang’’ Evidences’’ (Business Standard, 2014)

For instance, in this context, internationally famous science communicator and cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson (Ph.D. Columbia) wrote ``Steinhardt follows Mitra and points out that there are other twists produced within our own Galaxy’’.
As per Big Bang model, 85% of the matter in the universe comprises unusual (non-baryonic) exotic ``Dark Matter’’. But protracted intense search by (i) Direct Laboratory methods, (ii) Particle Accelerators and (ii) Indirect searches by Gamma Ray Astronomy have failed to detect any WIMP/AXION, and this hypothesis is on the verge of abandonment. This development is in conformity with the idea of Mitra (and many others) that the Big Bang paradigm could be in error (Cosmologists in the Dark, Martinez & Trimble). In his view, galactic DM could just be baryonic matter like ultra-cold molecular hydrogen.
A recent discovery (Science, 2015) that the speed of only strictly plane light waves is constant in a vacuum may have profound implications for Cosmology.


 

6.  BOTTOMLINE: 

Physics problems in the physical Universe involve various complexities like inhomogeneity, heat flow, radiation transfer, the ever-changing equation of state of matter etc. If such complexities would be incorporated, even Newtonian physics, let alone far more complicated General Relativity, would never yield any nice ``Exact Solution’’. This implies that the ``Exact solutions’ of GR, on which the ``Black Hole’’ and ``Big Bang’’ paradigms have been built over past 100 years cannot represent the real throbbing live universe. His research has proved this simple truth by showing that some crucial `exact solutions’/singularities’ are illusory for the real universe, which suggests that the so-called ``black holes’’ are much more lively & interesting objects; and the physical universe is much richer & complex, and of course unknown.



Contacts: Emails: amitra@barc.gov.com, abhasmitra@gmail.com, 022-25579093, M: 09167843785



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