Exclusive: From Leading A Mega Project At CERN To Making Science Simpler For School Students, Senior Scientist Dr Archana Sharma Talks Life | India News

In the realm of the world’s grandest laboratories, where groundbreaking experiments unfold on a massive scale, there exists a common perception that these centers of innovation are predominantly situated in the West, steered by individuals of Caucasian origin. However, this notion is far from reality, as Indians have made an indelible mark in the realm of research, leaving an enduring impact on institutions like NASA and CERN. Among the distinguished Indian scientists making strides in coveted research programs worldwide is Dr. Archana Sharma, a leading particle physicist and senior scientist at CERN.

Dr. Sharma is at the helm of the monumental CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) project, which holds such complexity that a comprehensive article would be required merely to scratch the surface of its essence. Her work not only captivates with its intriguing nature but also surpasses the boundaries of most people’s imagination.

On the sidelines of the Physics Conclave held at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, in conversation with Zee News English, Dr. Sharma candidly opens up about her feelings of being an imposter, even in the face of tremendous success at CERN. Despite her remarkable achievements, she remains humble and driven by a relentless pursuit of knowledge. Her work at CERN carries profound significance for the world, touching upon aspects of particle physics that have far-reaching implications. In her conversation with Zee New English Dr Sharma shares why she still feels like an imposter even after achieving such a huge success at CERN and why her work matters for the world.

When asked about the temperature of a place 100 metres below the earth’s surface, Dr Sharma shared that the temperature below the ground is nearly 19 to 20 degrees Celsius which is something we try to maintain with air conditioners or ACs at our homes and offices, hence the underground lab has its natural AC.

Talking about the importance of the availability and accessibility of educational resources to young minds, Dr Sharma said, “A student who liked to do science at school and has fire in him or her for the subject but as he grows older the fire starts to fade away and the mega-science projects and pursuing of a career in research field incorporating pure science feel like a far fetched dream. In order to maintain that fire we need to make the learning very simple and very accessible,” she further stated.

Dr Sharma with her NGO “Life Lab Foundation” is trying to do something like this and make the field of pure science more relatable for the students. She is on a mission to help young minds less afraid of science and more open to doing practical. 

Throwing light on the use of particle physics in the greater good of humanity, Dr Sharma explained its application in the field of medicine where the particles are used in the treatment of cancer and there are 106 centres in the world using the particle method to treat the disease. Another ongoing research use of particles aims to produce X-ray images with 100 to 200 times lesser dose and higher resolution. 

If you have ever had an X-ray you might know that the technician leaves the X-ray room when they hit with the rays to produce the image of the broken bone or other tissues of the body, it is because they work with these rays for most hours and such long dose of X-rays is harmful to living cells but the anyways the patient is exposed to these rays hence the researchers are trying to lower the dose with the help of particles without compromising the resolution of images rather producing with higher resolution.

Talking about India’s progress and investment in the field of research and development, Dr Sharma said, India being a developing country has many priorities and spending on R&D is a luxury but the country is still doing it because our government realises that we need to invest in R&D to progress later and the investment will increase as our economy grows.

Dr Archana Sharma who was part of the huge team that was invested in the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle or the God particle asks the young minds who may not be sitting in the metro cities but the remote village of rural India to “keep on dreaming, dreams will come true because you will make it happen, there is no failure, it’s either a step forward or learning”.

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