UC Alum Named Branco Weiss Fellow

By: Desiré Bennett

UC Graduate, Sushant Anand, PhD, was recently awarded a Society in Science Branco Weiss Fellowship. Out of 567 applicants, Anand is among nine selected.

Sushant Anand, PhD.

Sushant Anand, PhD.

The Society in Science has recently named Sushant Anand, PhD, a Branco Weiss Fellow. As the Society in Science states, Anand was nominated and selected as an “outstanding postdoctoral researcher with a proven track record who has extended [his] scientific work to include social and cultural questions and perspectives.”

While studying at the University of Cincinnati, Anand conducted PhD work in the fields of transport phenomena in the nanoscale, especially condensation, and he studied the mechanism of how the water vapor molecule is condensed on the solid surface using advanced diagnostic techniques.

According to assistant professor Sang Young Song, PhD, with whom Anand completed his PhD work, “The research that Anand conducted is an essential principal for environmental nanoparticle monitoring, new energy, and new material development,” he said. “The research is directly related to the development of environmental health monitoring, new device to monitor the exposure level of toxic chemical and pollutant in environment. Scientifically, his research revealed how the transport phenomena in nanoscale is different from macroscale what we can observe in our lives.”

Anand says that the time he spent earning his PhD at UC was a life-altering experience. “A doctoral study is more than research, it is a personality development program that molds you over time and teaches you how to parse out noise, identify core problems, and develop patience to solve them,” he said. “The technical skills that we learn during this period are the fundamental blocks on which any PhD would hope to build their life.”

According to Anand, the skills he gained while at UC have been extremely useful in his current position at MIT. “The research that I am performing here is highly multi-disciplinary and I am exploring areas that are different from what I did during my PhD. A big credit for this goes to the training and experiences I gained at UC,” he explains. “Usually a PhD is a very focused study of a single topic – and while that is true for me too, I consider myself more fortunate because my studies involved exploring widely different areas of science and engineering as well. On one hand I learned a lot about designing experiments and working with numerous types of equipment, on the other hand I also gained significant knowledge of mathematical modeling and numerical analysis.”

Condensed droplets on lubricant-impregnated surfaces.

Condensed droplets on lubricant-impregnated surfaces. Image courtesy of Sushant Anand, Phd.

Anand is currently conducting post-doctoral work at MIT with Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Kripa Varanasi. The work focuses on a new type of surface for enhancing condensation.

“The aim of my research is to deepen our understanding of lubricant impregnated surfaces so that they can be employed on an industrial scale for applications such as harvesting safe and drinkable water as well as to improve the energy efficiency of condensers,” Anand said. “My research as a Branco Weiss fellow has the potential to benefit populations facing a scarcity of water. It may also lead to steam based power plants to save energy during power generation.”

Anand has four publications including Dynamics of Lubricant Impregnated SurfacesCondensation on Lubricant Impregnated SurfacesCondensation on hierarchical surfaces and Frost formation on Lubricant Impregnated Surfaces. He is currently working on a number of areas as well such as Leidenfrost effect, nucleation control, frost formation and prevention, making novel condensers, water collection through fog and dew harvesting. Anand’s research on condensation has been featured on the MIT homepage and has appeared in The Economist and Popular Science.

Speaking about his plans for future research, Anand says that he wishes to work on finding sustainable solutions for problems related with climate change. “When I think of the future, I think of homes with energy generation units installed in their backyards that can efficiently tap into geothermal energy of earth, deriving energy from trees without burning them or uprooting them and engineering the plants to absorb more carbon dioxide, and tapping into the surrounding environment to get water." He plans to continue to work toward realizing that future.