Mahananda (Nanda) Dasgupta FAA, FAIP is an experimental physicist at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility in the Department of Nuclear Physics of the Australian National University, whose work focuses on accelerator-based nuclear fusion and fission.
Dasgupta has made key contributions in developing theoretical models to quantum tunnelling of composite objects, and has also designed efficient experimental particle detection equipment. Her current work aims to understand the quantum interactions of stable and unstable exotic nuclei, underpinning opportunities with next generation accelerators. Dasgupta's work is also advancing understanding on the transition from quantum to classical behaviour, which is important for the development of nanoscale technologies.
In 1992, Dasgupta completed her PhD at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India. Shortly after, she moved to Australia, and in 1998 was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship by the Australian Research Council.
In 2003, she became the first woman appointed to a tenured position in the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the Australian National University, and in 2004 she undertook a nationwide lecture tour as the 2004 Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) "Women in Physics" lecturer.
In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Pawsey medal from the Australian Academy of Science, which honours outstanding research in physics in Australia by a scientist under the age of 40.
Dasgupta was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2011, and that same year was awarded the inaugural Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science. The fellowship funded Dasgupta in her efforts to increase the profile of women in science and work towards advancing early career researchers as well as facilitate leadership pathways for senior women researchers.
She is also currently a member of the National Committee for Physics.
That year she also represented the Group of Eight universities at the Women in Science and Engineering summit at Parliament House.
Dasgupta has published more than 80 papers in journals such as Nature, Physics Letters and Physical Review C.