Professor Nirmal Viswanathan, faculty in the School of Physics delivered a lecture on “Lighting up the Singularities” at the C V Raman Auditorium on 19th March 2014 as part of the Inaugural Lecture. These lectures are delivered by newly appointed Professors of the University and are colloquia on their research interests for the benefit of colleagues and students. He gave an overview of his research work carried out over the past six years.


Singularities are threads of lines in 3D and points in 2D parameter fields, largely avoided in practice as a mathematical function or the physical quantity that describes them either diverges or is indeterminate. Interestingly these ubiquitous points are surrounded by spatial varying order parameter fields that emerge as a local manifestation of spatial heterogeneity of large scale order and play a critical role in determining the physical property of matters ranging from early universe to materials in daily life.

Prof. Nirmal gave a very interesting presentation to the students, faculty and staff on the understanding of light in terms of its singularities, popularly known as Singular Optics offers a powerful technique to unravel some of nature’s patterns around the self-organizing centers in a controllable way.  He told that, using beams of light he and his research team were able to encode the singularities, their polarization properties – direction, magnitude and phase of the electric and magnetic fields’ oscillations, which could be linear, circular, or elliptical in general.

He further stated that while pursuing this encoding process, his team was able to create beams of light that contain any desired patterns of lines,  symmetric or asymmetric,  the type of singularity pattern that, up to know, has been elusive. Prof Nirmal while concluding his presentation said that by maintaining a control over the parameters of the light beam fields his team was able to unravel and understand the optical ‘fingerprint’ patterns around the singularities.


Prof. E. Hari Babu, Pro Vice-Chancellor gave the welcome while Prof. Subhash Chaturvedi, Dean, School of Physics introduced. Prof. Nirmal Viswanathan.