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RD Prabhu

As a youngster, Prabhu read a book on space rocketry and fell deeply in love with the stars, the galaxies, and the Universe. So after finishing his Bachelor's degree in Physics from St.Xavier's College in Calcutta and Masters in Electronics from Osmania, Hyderabad, Prabhu went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Thereafter Prabhu stepped out of the country and worked in Singapore, Texas (USA), and Vermont (USA). Prabhu wanted his kids to experience the Indian culture, people, places and grow up in India. So Prabhu and his family moved to India, Bangalore in the year 2007.

Before this, Prabhu worked as a Research Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont. Back in India Prabhu worked for IBM's semiconductor research division. His work was related to the development of some of the tiniest of components that go into the smartphones of today. Between 2015 - 2021, Prabhu served as Associate Professor (Physics) and Dean of Sciences, at the Sri Satya Sai University for Human Excellence, Kalburagi, Karnataka. Currently he is managing the Electrostatic Discharge Compact Modeling Group in Global Foundries. His work feeds into the development of 6G communications, IoT devices and automotive technologies.

Prabhu is very passionate about teaching Physics hands-on. He has developed and taught the ASSET Summer Programme course – ‘Work Like a Scientist’ twice (in 2017 and 2018) – this was an intense three week, fun-filled , 100+ hour course for gifted students and was highly popular. He loves playing chess, table tennis, running, doing yoga, reciting poetry, and learning Sanskrit.

The Two Feet of Science!

Science walks forward on two feet, namely theory and experiment ... Sometimes it is one foot which is put forward first, sometimes the other, but continuous progress is only made by the use of both by theorizing and then testing, or by finding new relations in the process of experimenting and then bringing the theoretical foot up and pushing it on beyond, and so on in unending alternations.

Robert Millikan, Nobel Laureate

Date(s):

Dec 18-24, 2021

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We invite interested students to take a short stride into the world of physics and explore the world of charges, electricity and magnetism, through a series of illustrative and explorative experiments followed by conceptual exercises in theory-building. 


Students will be encouraged to think, ‘play’ and engage in a healthy criticism of each other’s ideas and opinions related to the concepts involved. They will build, explore and theorize the observed cause and effect relationships. The course aims to conduct simple experiments that mark the turning points in the development of Conceptual Physics, be it the electroscope, the motor or the Tesla Coil! As the course progresses, the captivating story of electricity will unfold as it happened in history!


We begin with electrostatics (Tribology or what happens when you rub two different objects/materials together). Next, how such charges may be stored (batteries) or allowed to flow (currents) and how currents produce magnet-like fields (as seen by the deflecting needle of a magnetic-compass) will be discussed.  This will be followed by the illustrations of how magnets interact with current carrying conductors (motor/generator).


This course will attempt to bring the Textbook to Life with a healthy dose of hands-on-thinking and ‘not-to-be-forgotten’ historical drama! The acrimonious debate between Edison and Tesla, the life and times of Faraday, how his investigations inspired Maxwell’s work and Hertz’s ingenious experiments will help the young student to appreciate not just the wondrous phenomenon of electricity but also the process of development of scientific thought.