Kanwar Nain Singh

By Laura Kenworthy 2min read

When Kanwar Nain Singh travelled to the UK to pursue his PhD, after completing his undergraduate and Masters studies in India, he had never left the country before.

“It was quite a culture shock, but the Homerton community was very welcoming, and because almost everyone lives onsite it was easy to get to know people. I made great friends in Harrison House who I still go on vacations with, even after graduating with some of them, and I found the College generally very chilled out.”

Kanwar embraced the opportunities offered by sport to get involved in College life, taking up cricket, football, badminton and table tennis. He also served as Treasurer of the MCR for two years, completing his studies just before Covid dampened the social side of Homerton life for a while.

His PhD in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics focused on understanding oceanic mixing, Specifically, he explored how the presence of density gradients, which exist naturally in the ocean because of salt, affect turbulence and mixing properties. 

“As the sun heats the ocean surface, the water density reduces, because hotter fluid is less dense,” he explains. “But because the ocean is so turbulent -  its inherent property being efficient mixing - scientists expected the top layer to be well mixed, or all the same density. When actual measurements were performed, they found layers of constant density separated by interfaces. It’s like adding milk to coffee, stirring it, and still finding the milk and coffee in separate layers. It’s not at all intuitive.”

By recreating these layers of density in the lab and developing analytic models, Kanwar was able to explore how different interfaces are formed and sustained.

“Since oceans absorb the majority of anthropogenic heat produced on earth, understanding ocean mixing is particularly of interest to oceanographers and anyone interested in global warming.”

Since finishing his PhD in 2020, Kanwar has remained in Cambridge, where he now works as a data scientist and is involved with various machine learning and artificial intelligence projects.