Mariah Parker, Fadji Maina, and Sneha Jani
Words Venkitesh Lives By:“Never say never”
Venkitesh’s journey to Berkeley Lab
Venkitesh Ayyar grew up in the Indian city of Mumbai. He obtained a Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and then came to the US to study Theoretical Particle Physics at Duke University. After graduating with his Ph.D., he decided to explore Beyond Standard Model Physics and his second passion: computational physics! He is now a postdoc in the Computational Research Division (CRD).
Exploring different fields of physics through computing sciences…
Transferring from theoretical physics to computational work for experimental physics proved to be a major challenge for Venkitesh. Moreover, transitioning from a small group where each person worked on a specific project to a much larger group where his work focuses on a small piece of a much larger puzzle was also a challenge. However, Venkitesh enjoys the diverse research projects that are being done at the Lab and is excited by the potential impacts his computational work can have on them. He has worked on two main projects. In the first, he writes and optimizes computational workflow codes for the LZ experiment, a next-generation dark matter detection experiment. Specifically, he has been able to reduce memory usage of the code which will ultimately reduce the cost, both in terms of time and money. In addition to this, his second project looks at how machine learning can impact data analysis for high energy physics experiments. Venkitesh enjoys building tools for data processing and visualization for his collaborators.
A passion to connect with his peers and the general public
As a 2018 SLAM finalist, Venkitesh is passionate about connecting with the local community by sharing in simple words the complexities and intricacies of science. Moreover, as a board member of BLPA, he aims to create a welcoming community of postdocs by organizing outdoor activities such as hikes.
What are his next steps?
There are so many directions his experience can lead, however ideally, Venkitesh would like to stay within the academic or national lab realm to pursue research in computing physics. If funding, time, and effort weren’t a limitation, Venkitesh would pursue interesting problems in early universe physics, an intersection of his interests in particle physics and cosmology.
Advice for other postdocs?
Our interests as scientists are ever-changing throughout our careers. Stay open-minded and utilize opportunities to explore these new interests!