First thought in the morning: Let’s do it!
First of all a human being, equal with all others. Then a scientist. This is how Amandeep Singh, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in materials science at TUT, describes himself.
Amandeep Singh is in his last year of Graduate School at TUT and teaches a ceramics course to students of materials science.
WHO: Amandeep Singh, 27 years
- Doctoral student of materials science
- Born in Chandigarh, India, next to the Himalayas.
- Education: MSc (Tech), TUT, 2014.
- Lives in Hervanta.
- Family: Parents in India, older brother in Vaasa.
- Hobbies: Photography in the student club Tampereen Teekkarikamerat, powerlifting in the student club Herwannan Hauiskääntö. Diverse sports interests ranging from badminton and dancing to bubble soccer. Writes poems in Punjabi and enjoys roaming the woods. Singh is learning Finnish, for example, by reading books by Mauri Kunnas.
Amandeep Singh’s ultimate goals in life are related to humanity and science. He is concerned about not only the treatment of employees but also the future of humanity and our environment.
“I’d like to contribute to a scientific breakthrough that can be commercialized to make the world a better place for us all and help restore our planet back to its pristine state before we began spoiling it. I also dream of employing a large number of people and setting an example of treating my employees as humans and not as moneymaking machines. The problem with management in both companies and universities is that we are able to manage projects but not people,” says Amandeep Singh.
As a materials scientist, Singh explores how atoms are reorganized into different substances and how they can be used to improve our quality of life.
“New nanomaterials are fabricated on the surface of solid materials using lasers and supercritical carbon dioxide. The phenomenon occurs at a crushing pressure and a temperature that is equal to the surface of the Sun. The compression of diamonds is nothing compared to that. While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, the end result is, for example, self-cleaning or antibacterial surfaces.”
Graduation with a master’s degree and entry into Graduate School
Armed with a bachelor‘s degree, Singh arrived at TUT together with his older brother in August 2013. He had originally set his sights on the USA, but decided otherwise because of the high tuition fees and the uncertainty of finding employment amidst the economic downturn.
“My brother, four years my senior, was also admitted to Aalto University, but there was no programme in materials science available for me there. As older brothers look out for younger ones, we both opted for Tampere. My brother holds master’s degree in electrical engineering from TUT and is now working in Vaasa.”
When Singh first joined TUT, he was initially frustrated with the easy courses and top grades.
“When I got the grade 4 for a ceramics course, I immediately thought that this was an area where I could develop further. I’ve focused on ceramics ever since. I had so much work towards the end of my MSc studies that I stopped thinking about grades altogether. I’d applied for admission to TUT’s Graduate School and needed to complete my master’s thesis in December 2014.”
He made it and is now on his fourth year of Graduate School. Despite having a heavy teaching load, he is due to finalize the research papers for his dissertation before the end of this year. This is the third year that Singh is teaching a course that students have rated as one of the best courses in the entire laboratory.
“The feedback provided by students demonstrates that they enjoy demos and lab assignments. They also say that my passion for teaching shows. Rather than focus solely on the concepts directly related to the topic, I prefer to combine them to universal events a bit like a natural philosopher.”
Failure is essential
Singh does not take life for granted and considers each day a gift. There is much to be thankful for, starting with his family. Even in November weather, Singh feels grateful every day that Finland has welcomed him and that he is able to earn a living here and help out his parents.
“I am extremely grateful to my family, friends and colleagues for creating an environment where I could thrive. The stories of the hard life of the Sikh in the 17th and 18th centuries have taught me that we have it easy. Yet we complain so much. I want to complain less and do more. My attitude each morning is Let’s do it!”
Singh sets high standards for himself also in sports. He has suffered a severe back injury and sprained his ankles four times, but the setbacks have slowed him down only temporarily.
“Mistakes and accidents are part and parcel of life, and failure is necessary. One needs to fix things and keep moving forward.”
The same applies to science, where major breakthroughs are rare and take a great deal of work. Singh agrees with the saying that science is about going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.