Dr. Nikhil Karthik spoke about the work in his thesis, which contributes to important technical advances in lattice QCD, and also studies its deconfined phase. Although the coupling constant in this phase is not too large, perturbative estimates of quantities like the viscosity and the screening mass do not agree with expectations due to discretization effects. Specifically, existing lattice studies based on the staggered discretization of quarks, found a screening mass which, contrary to expectations is smaller than that of the free field theory. Smoothed gauge configurations are the prescription to ameliorate such unwanted discretization effects. Dr. Karthik's thesis investigated the effects of different types of smoothing, and devised an optimum smoothing strategy which succeeded in identifying the reasons why the screening mass shows the observed behaviour. Dr. Karthik's talk was also notable due to the clarity with which technical issues were conveyed to the audience.
The award ceremony was well attended, with many students and many well known physicists in the audience. It was heartwarming that three of these were Rahul's friends in graduate school, Prof. Rohini Godbole, Prof. Ashoke Sen, and Prof. Sunil Mukhi, distinguished physicists, and in the case of Profs. Mukhi and Godbole, members of the award committee. We congratulate the winners, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.
This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.