Atharva Deshpande, UIUC

“There’s no point in being nuts if you can’t have some fun with it”. 

Hey Hey Hey!!!

I am Atharva Deshpande, a senior undergraduate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. I come from Aurangabad and I love reading Novels, Binge-watching Korean series, playing squash, badminton, chess, and writing poems. My academic interests are more inclined towards Nuclear Engineering, Controls and Dynamics. I have been pursuing a minor in Electrical Engineering since my second year. 

I have always been a physics lover. Relativity, Quantum, Purcell, Griffiths, Nash, Electromagnetism !! Words like these have amazed me from my JEE time. I have loved John Nash since the day I watched “A Beautiful Mind” (yeah, Russell Crowe is amazing). I always dreamt of being an EP major and consider doing a PhD at CMU as my ultimate aim. Hence, I started my journey as a BC Enthu person, being from MEMS in my freshmen year it was quite difficult for me to pursue my career in physics. However, at the turn of events, I ended up being a Mechanical Engineering major (However, I don’t regret it now). 

Till the end of my second year, I had definitely made up my mind about not going for the Non-Core domain. During the start of the 5th Sem and my Internship season; as a core enthusiast, I used to apply for the core companies and then slack off during tests and interviews. In my 5th sem, I had taken a Nuclear Reactor Theory Course, which consisted of extensive mathematics and physics; and Microprocessors and Automatic Controls included basics of Controls and Dynamics of the system.  It was around mid-time of my 5th sem that I decided to apply for foreign universities; due to my inclination towards Nuclear Engineering and lack of motivation towards entering the corporate world.

Around the same time, mid-September, I had applied for the MITACS Globalink program. However, to my dismay, things took a negative turn yet again;  I wasn’t selected for the Internship at Canadian Universities, after which I had given up on applying for any Internships. However, in late November, the SARC team launched Profectus, which involved an internship in Nuclear Engineering profile at Atomic Energy Research Board, Government of India; which involved studying the Linear stability of the nuclear reactor using Lumped Approximation and Designing a PID Controller for the Nuclear Reactor. 

With this experience in my resume, I had a strong background to start apping to Foreign Universities. My approach was to look for the right professors rather than sending too many emails. I had sent a few emails to Professors from Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. However, I didn’t receive any reply for a week; which really made me concede that I won’t be getting any University Internship. Until one fine day, I received a mail from UIUC Professor about his research project aligning with my academic interests. It was completely out of the blue and my happiness was inexpressible at that moment. I had informed all my friends and parents about my joy of getting what I wished for so long and a dream come true. However, that happiness was short-lived, as UIUC officially banned the entry of International Students to the Institute due to the ongoing global Pandemic. Either way, I continued my 10 Week Internship Project with Professor Rizwan Uddin at UIUC on the Controls and Dynamics of a Nuclear Hybrid Energy System in an Online mode. 

Professor Rizwan Uddin is HOD of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering and working on developing a Nuclear Hybrid Energy System with Human Factors Interface. I was assigned a standalone task for Designing a Control System for a Nuclear Hybrid Grid Integration System and Developing a Graphical User Interface for the Control Room for the proposed energy system. This task was a whole new project launched by the Texas Government for Mission 2040 about Emission Free Electricity in coordination with UIUC. Although the project was assigned as a 10-week internship project, I had extended it for my BTP as Professor Uddin as my Guide. 

The ongoing research in this field is quite limited due to the constraints with the Nuclear Reactor and power plant systems load-following operations. We are combining the energy from Solar, Wind and Nuclear Power to make a whole new Power generation Mechanism, and the excess energy from the Nuclear system will be used for district heating and other chemical processes to ensure load-following operation. I like my work and I have decided to go for higher studies to explore a whole new world of Nuclear engineering which is still concealed from me.

Nuclear Hybrid Flowchart

Labview Interface for GUI

Simulink Interface 

One point of advice which I have for all readers is not to get tensed seeing the Internship blog. You are different and unique, and we don’t get to choose our time so keep trying hard until you get what you wanted and keep your focus Static Unidirectional. This overall process taught me one thing: “The journey is more beautiful than the destination”. Getting an Internship was just a matter of time and patience. However; the journey of crests and troughs taught me to get through the frustration and emotional instability during this period. My friends helped me a lot by motivating me and being there for me always…

Thanks, Utkarsh, Laxmi, Anshul, Sahil and Akanksha for your friendship and everlasting Inspiration. 

3 weeks ago

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