Dr. Gurinder Kaur Ahluwalia became a first-time author in November 2016, not because she had aspirations of writing a book, rather the scientific community was eager for more information on the subject matter – the applications of chalcogenides S, Se and Te.
Simply put, chalcogenides are compounds of metals with sulphur (S), selenium (Se) or tellurium (Te). The term chalcogenide is derived from the Greek language, meaning ‘sulphur-loving’ for elements that frequently bond to sulphur.
Dr. Ahluwalia is a physics instructor for Comprehensive Arts & Sciences (CAS) Transfer: College-University program at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Labrador West campus, and has established an innovative Materials and Nanotechnology Research Laboratory. No stranger to writing, Dr. Ahluwalia had over 70 research papers published in various scientific journals before beginning the writing stage for Applications of Chalcogenides: S, Se and Te
. The book broadens the reader’s understanding of an exhaustive list of chalcogen-based products used in numerous industrial applications such as data storage devices, and optical communication and sensing devices.
It all began in 2009 when she gave a plenary presentation at the international conference on Amorphous and Nanostructured Chalcogenides
in Romania. In a setting designed to present recent results and exchange ideas on advancement in research, Dr. Ahluwalia was encouraged by those in attendance to write a book about her findings.
“There was a demand for a book on the topic because the audience appreciated the presentation widely,” Dr. Ahluwalia said. “Many senior scientists said they wanted to write this book, but the subject matter is so vast and difficult to put together. In 2009, after I presented the work for the first time I decided I would write the book, but it was a lot of work.”
So she kept the recommendation in mind and put the idea on the back burner.
It wasn’t until she was helping plan a conference in Toronto that an opportunity fell into her lap to make it a reality. She was approached by Springer Publishing, an American company that focuses on academic journals and books in technology and health sciences sectors, with a request to write the book, Applications of Chalcogenides: S, Se and Te
“I signed an agreement and started to write in 2014. Time was a challenge for this because it requires a lot of time, effort and concentration in addition to my teaching responsibilities at the college,” she said. “I am lucky that my co-workers at the Labrador West campus are highly supportive of my research activities and come forward willingly to provide any support. The library staff was particularly supportive in getting all the literature required in a timely manner. In fact, the librarian happily provided some necessary details while I was doing the proofreading for the book in India during summer. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at the college, particularly the Campus Administrator, Dr. Richard Sawyer, who helped me improve my language and writing abilities over the years.
“Originally I intended to write the whole book myself, but then, due to the shortage of time and my contract with the publisher, I contacted other eminent scientists working in related fields, and they agreed to author/co-author some of the chapters. That is how I became the editor instead of the author of the whole book. I took help from my colleagues and co-workers and other institutions.”
Dr. Ahluwalia co-authored the book with seven of her peers from the scientific community, including fellow CNA instructor Dr. Ranjan Patro, who teaches physics for the Comprehensive Arts & Science: College-University program at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus.
“I’m a physicist, and we have a working relationship from applying for funding together so I was honoured to be asked to work on the project,” Dr. Patro said. “I have written three chapters in different books before. My chapter (for Dr. Ahluwalia’s book) was more of a review of what has been done so far and focused on the future outlook for infrared detectors because it has a lot of applications; military, telecommunications, industrial, automotive, medical and also security applications.”
Dr. Ahluwalia says her book will appeal to a broad audience; from post-secondary students and scientists to anyone working in the physics, chemistry, material technology and information science sectors.
Since the book’s release in November 2016, Dr. Ahluwalia has been invited to present the work at numerous conferences around the world. She has since been invited back to present at the conference in Romania where it all started, as well as conferences in Japan, India, China, the United Kingdom, the United States and here in Canada.
“It’s been good,” Dr. Ahulwalia said. “I think the response to the book has been overwhelming. It has been great exposure. Even some of my old colleagues that I had lost contact with for a long time have contacted me.”
The response has been so positive that she may even write another book in the future.
“I am encouraged by this book, but it depends on the time. I would definitely like to go in for more books. I’m happy that the publisher is very good, and the book is doing so well.”
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic