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INSIDE THE ATOM: A nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.
INSIDE THE ATOM: A nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.

Nuclear physicsI have just finished my Plus Two course with physics, chemistry and mathematics. I would like to know about the details of nuclear physics courses conducted by institutions in India and the related job prospects.Ebin FrancisKochiNuclear physics is a specialised branch of physics involving the scientific study of the forces, reactions and internal structures of atomic nuclei. The subject covers radioactivity, nuclear fission and fusion, nuclear reactions and their application areas, such as nuclear magnetic resonance, nuclear medicine, power generation, development of weapons and so on.To become a nuclear physicist, one should specialise in nuclear physics at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels. Those who score top marks or grades in the Plus Two course with physics, chemistry and mathematics can go for B.Sc. physics. After the successful completion of the degree course, try to secure admission to the M.Sc. nuclear-physics course. Only a few universities conduct the course. Aspirants must have scientific aptitude and capability. Another option for physics graduates with high marks is to go for the M.Sc. course in the subject with any one of the specialisations such as nuclear physics, atomic and molecular physics, space physics and solid-state physics.

Study facilities

In Kerala, the Department of Physics of the University of Calicut is the only institution that conducts M.Sc. with nuclear physics as one of the specialised subjects. Solid-state physics is another specialisation. There are 16 seats. M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses are also offered.Some other universities and affiliated colleges in the State conduct M.Sc. physics courses that include nuclear physics and atomic and molecular physics as separate papers.

Outside Kerala

The universities and institutes conducting the M.Sc. nuclear-physics programmes outside Kerala are as follows:Andhra University, Waltair, Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh - 530 003 (It also conducts M.Sc. space physics).Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu - 627 012.Karnatak University, Pavate Nagar, Dharwad - 580 003 (It also offers M.Sc. atomic and molecular physics and electronics and solid-state physics).A list of more universities offering nuclear physics courses can be had from the Universities Hand Book published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which is available for reference from the employment information and guidance bureaux at the universities in Kerala.

Other options

The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, provides an opportunity for first-class physics graduates to study integrated Ph.D. programmes in physical science. Selection is through an all-India entrance test and interview (www.iis.cernet.in) .The Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin - 22, has introduced an M.Sc. course in nanoscience and technology. Entry qualification is B.Sc. degree in physics or chemistry with at least 55 per cent marks. (www.cusat.nic.in) . Bharathiar University, Coimbatore - 641 046, offers M.Sc. nanotechnology (www.b-u.ac.in) The Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee, provide M.Sc.-level study facilities in physics. IIT, Kanpur, also conducts an M.Sc.-Ph.D. dual-degree programme in physics. Meritorious physics graduates are eligible to get admission through the Joint Admission Test (IIT -JAM).IITs, Kanpur and Khargpur, offer five-year integrated M.Sc. programmes in physics for meritorious students who have completed the Plus Two course. IIT, Bombay, conducts a five-year dual-degree M.Tech. programme in engineering physics with specialisation in nanoscience. Those securing a minimum 60 per cent marks in the Plus Two examinations are eligible for admission. Selections are based on the Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).The Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata (www.saha.ac.in) , provides facilities for undergraduate associateship in biophysical sciences. On successful completion of the programme, associates will be issued a certificate. On successful completion of the M.Sc. course with first class, they may be absorbed as research fellows. Details can be had from the web site. S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Salt Lake, Kolkata - 700 098, conducts a post-B.Sc. integrated M.Sc.- Ph.D. programme in physical sciences. Physics graduates with at least 55 per cent marks are eligible for admission. Those who complete the programme with 55 per cent or more marks are eligible for admission to post M.Sc.-Ph.D. programmes (www. bose.res.in).The School of Physical Science of the University of Madras offers M.Phil. study opportunities in nuclear physics to meritorious M.Sc. degree holders in the relevant discipline. The Tata Institute of fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai - 400 005, the Institute of Physics, Bhubhaneswar - 757 005 and Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi- 110 065 provide research facilities leading to Ph.D. in the relevant fields of nuclear physics (www.tifr.res.in) The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre provides exciting research facilities and opportunities to build a good career in the atomic and nuclear fields.

Job opportunities

Those who obtain M.Sc. and doctoral degrees in these specialised subjects will get jobs in scientific research and development organisations, such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata and Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi.For becoming a lecturer, one should clear the Junior Research Fellowship-National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grants Commission and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research after passing the M.Sc. programme with a minimum 55 percent marks or obtain M.Phil. or Ph.D. degrees.Medical laboratory technologyI have passed the B.Sc. MLT course. Now, I would like to do an M.Sc. course in the subject. Please let me know the details of courses available in Kerala and outside.Rinu MathewThiruvallaMaster's degree courses in medical laboratory technology are rare. The Department of Medical Laboratory Technology of the Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal (a constituent college of Manipal University), conducts M.Sc. MLT with specialisation in microbiology, immunology and clinical biochemistry. More specialisation areas will be available in advanced fields such as cytology, cytogenesis, haematology and transfusion medicine. Meritorious MLT graduates are eligible for admission to the M.Sc. programme. Visit http://admissionsmanipal.edu for details.In Kerala, the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, conducts an M.Sc. MLT programme. First-class graduates in MLT, biochemistry, microbiology or biotechnology are eligible for admission.The Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Porur, Chennai, also offers the course. (www.srnic.edu) .Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigrah, (pgimer.nic.in) offers M.Sc. medical technology and pathology, with immuno-pathology, cytology, haematology and histopathology as special subjects.

Job prospects

Clinical laboratories are always on the look out for qualified personnel. There are ample opportunities for careers in research laboratories. Also, M.Sc. MLT degree holders are eligible to become lecturers. Medical technologists work in major laboratory-related areas such as haematology, clinical pathology, blood-banking, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, histopathology, cytology and cytogentives. They are also associated with research in the frontier areas of medicine, including clinical areas.GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM


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