Dust can reduce effect of nuclear weapons: Woman scientist from Delhi

Meera Chadha

New Delhi (NVI): The dust particles could become one of the ways to reduce the effect of nuclear weapons, suggests a study by a woman scientist from the Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), New Delhi.

In a study, published in the Proceedings of Royal Society A, London, Dr Meera Chadha has shown for the first time, through mathematical modelling, that the deadly effects of nuclear weapons can be partially mitigated or reduced with the help of dust particles.

The study illustrates the reduction in energy released and damage radius from an intense explosion (nuclear explosion in particular) by introduction of dust particles. She has also shown in the study how the blast waves from the explosion decayed in the process.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science and Technology in a statement said that the woman scientist returned to the science mainstream after a hiatus of one year due to domestic reasons.

The Women Scientist Scheme (WOS) fellowship of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) provides opportunities to women scientists and technologists who had a break in their career but desired to return to the mainstream.

Such a break is common among Indian women who prioritise family over their career due to various circumstances, which are usually typical to the gender, the statement said.

Chadha availed this opportunity not only to return back to mainstream science after a career gap but also to show for the first time that dust can reduce the effect of nuclear weapons.

“During my PhD, I studied about shock waves and how dust particles contribute in reducing their strength. I came across a book titled ‘Science towards Spirituality’, in which Former President, Late Dr Abdul Kalam, was asked, ‘Can Science create a Cool Bomb that can defuse or deactivate the deadly atom bomb?’ This got me thinking,” Chadha said in a statement, while explaining the trigger behind her research.

She also utilised her break in career in studying about explosions and the possible effects of dust particles on them. However, the WOS scheme gave her the flexibility of time and enough resources in terms of equipment and funds to carry out her research, the statement added.

-RJV