There’s a barrage of questions from people. About God, the God particle, whether the experiment at Cern, off Geneva in Switzerland, will destroy earth and why a good Maharashtrian lady like her is part of something like this.
After some painstaking attempts at briefly trying to explain the experiment, Anupama Kulkarni, 40, sighed, shut her eyes and broke into a smile.
“I wish there was some magical way of explaining the whole concept so that everybody could understand the whole process,” she laughed when DNA caught her on the sidelines of the unveiling of a special art installation inspired by the experiment using the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator in Switzerland, which should be able to confirm or refute the existence of the God particle.
Kulkarni, who returned to the city a few days ago, said she is getting used to questions like these. “Thanks to some channels putting out alarmist ‘special’ shows in 2007-08 saying the experiment could destroy our planet, I was approached by many people who knew me worried about my safety. I was on a break and they kept saying I mustn’t go back.”
This engineer from Karad college of engineering, who has been with the Barc for nearly two decades, admits to being overwhelmed when she heard that she had been selected to be a part of the experiment.
“Given that some of the finest brains from over 500 premier institutions worldwide are working on this experiment, I was aware that my individual contribution was very very small,” she said.
"However it did feel special that the department of atomic energy (DAE) and my bosses at Barc reposed their faith in me," she said.According to her, DAE is partnering with Cern on the project and Barc was entrusted with providing several of the control systems needed. "As an engineer who has worked with control systems, that is where my contribution came in."This Ganesh bhakt, however, said that pursuing the God particle has only brought her closer to the divine. "I’ve traditionally been a believer. This does not mean elaborate rituals or pujas. Yet I feel thinking of God in complete submission is very important." In fact, it is the one thing she has always done before starting work. Banishing all talk of her single status, she said, "That is a stereotype. I will, however, admit that I have supportive parents.
"The artistes Amesha Mehta, 48, and Prakash Bal Joshi, who have worked for over a year on the installation, said they felt honoured to be part of the project. "It took us over a month of sketching and deciding what media we will use. Ultimately, the work had to invoke the God Particle," said Mehta.
Joshi and she have used zucchini diamonds, glass, and wood to create the work.