Carnegie Mellon University
September 25, 2019

Ph.D. Candidate Sayan Mandal Wins Bruce McWilliams Graduate Fellowship

By Ben Panko

Physics Ph.D. candidate Sayan Mandal has received the Bruce McWilliams Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship is named after Department of Physics alumnus and Carnegie Mellon University Trustee Bruce McWilliams, who is CEO of the retail service robot developer Bossa Nova Robotics and chairman of the board of the LIDAR technology company TetraVue. The fellowship covers tuition and fees and provides a stipend to a Mellon College of Science graduate student studying in an area where Carnegie Mellon has a comparative advantage and where research is at an emerging or critical stage.

"We know there are magnetic fields at all scales in the universe, and a big mystery is understanding the origin of these magnetic fields," Mandal said in describing his research in the lab of Associate Research Professor Tina Kahniashvili. To study how the properties of these magnetic fields evolved as the early universe expanded, Mandal performs simulations that have to account for the turbulent primordial plasma that existed after the Big Bang.

Mandal's research also looks at how magnetic fields affected the formation of large-scale structures in the universe, such as stars and galaxies, later in the universe's development. "For this, we have to accurately model all the energy injecting and dissipative processes that affect the couplings between the magnetic fields and the turbulent motion of the fluids," Mandal noted.

"Sayan is a very motivated student with excellent academic and practical skills," Kahniashvili said. "In his approaches to research, as well as learning, Sayan has demonstrated creativity and independence."

"The McWilliams Graduate Fellowship will help me focus full time on my research," Mandal said. "This will lead to a lot of time gained and will be very instrumental in helping me make substantial progress with all the problems I am currently working on."

Mandal is also looking forward to being able to travel to various events and conferences throughout the academic year to learn more and present his research.