Today I am interviewing Gaurav Maurya for the “How I Work” series. Gaurav is a 26-year-old PhD student at the Indian Institute of Technology. He describes himself as a loner, and lives with his mother and two elder sisters and grandma. His father died when he was 15 years old, and since then his mother and sisters took care of hi. He let me know that he really wants to thank them, for where he is now is thanks to their hard work.
Current Job: PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, UP, India.
Current Location: Kanpur, UP, India.
Current mobile device: Ipad and Moto g 2nd generation.
Current computer: I have an assembled pc and a Dell inspiron 15 R.
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I am a 3rd year PhD student in Solid Mechanics division of Mechanical Eng. Dept. in this institute. I changed my supervisor recently, because I realised that I wanted to work on Applied Mathematics problems. Before I had an experimental work related to crystal deformations. So, I am starting again with literature survey. I have no regrets. I realised that applied math is all I wanted to do.
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
I usually use Mathematica and MATLAB and IPE (for making diagrams). I might also use FORTRAN.
What does your workspace setup look like?
There is an room given to me which I call my office. It has a table and a chair (not very comfortable), pc, and shelves and racks for keeping books etc. There is a master student who shares this room with me.
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Time management is must. Plan your week and stick to the plans. Do not waste time talking to people. Do yoga and meditation for a focused mind.
Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
I use Ipad for reading and listening purposes but I count it under computer category.
Which skill makes you stand out as a researcher?
I am very patient.
What do you listen to when you work?
I don’t listen to anything. I can’t focus on work if I listen something. I am amazed at people who can do both simultaneously.
What are you currently reading?
I usually read biographies/autobiographies. I am reading the The making of a Soviet Scientist. It is a great book and the parts which mention Lev Landau are very inspiring. I love reading about how scientists thought about things. For example Einstein and Feymann had great insights to things not only related to Science but also to life. I carry a book everywhere and whenever there is time, say, 5-10 minutes, I read some lines.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
I am an introvert. It actually helps me to save time which I utilise in being productive and learning different things like languages.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I don’t sleep much. Not more than 6.30 hours. I usually go to bed between 11.30 to 12 am and get up by 6 am. I do feel like sleeping between 3 pm to
4 pm but I survive somehow (usually take a power nap of 5 minutes).
What’s your work routine like?
I usually start working at 9 am. I work until noon and then, from 1.00 pm to 6 pm. In evening from 8.30 to 11 pm. (TA work included)
What’s the best advice you ever received?
My new supervisor is very organised and has got time for everything he wants to do. I asked him how he do all those things? He told me make a time table and stick to it. Since then all I have done is sticking to my plans and it has been a good experience so far.