|Alma mater||B.Sc. University of Pune |
Ph.D. Westfield College
|Institutions||National Institute of Oceanography, India|
Aditi Pant is an Indian oceanographer. She was the first Indian woman to visit Antarctica as part of the Indian Antarctic Program in 1983 (along with geologist Sudipta Sengupta). She has held prominent positions at institutions including the National Institute of Oceanography, National Chemical Laboratory, University of Pune, and Maharashtra Academy of Sciences.
She was inspired to take up oceanography as a profession when she came across the book The Open Sea by Alister Hardy. She was awarded a US government scholarship to take up a Master’s in Marine Sciences in the University of Hawaii. Her academic interest lay in photosynthesis in plankton communities. She wrote her thesis on the effect of tropical light intensities on photosynthesis by natural plankton communities and the nature and amount of reduced carbon flow from phytoplankton to bacteria.
After completing her studies, Pant decided not to pursue a tenure or postdoctoral research position. Instead, she returned to India to join the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa, after being inspired by the founder of the institute, N. K. Panikkar. She worked here from 1973 to 1976, focusing primarily on coastal studies along the West Coast of India.
Antarctic expedition and later work
Between December 1983 and March 1984, Pant embarked on an expedition to Antarctica. This was the third in a series of expeditions spearheaded by erstwhile Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by the Indian Antarctic Program (under the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research). The expedition was aimed at gathering information related to food chain physics, chemistry, and biology in the Antarctic Ocean. During the course of the mission, the team built Dakshin Gangotri, the first Indian scientific research base station of Antarctica (located 2,500 kms from the South Pole). Pant also participated in the fifth expedition to the Antarctic in 1984, carrying out research in oceanography and geology.
In 1990, after 17 years of working with the NIO, Pant moved to Pune to work at the National Chemical Laboratory. Here, she studied the enzymology of salt-tolerant and salt-loving microbes involved in the food chain.
Patents and awards
Pant is the owner of five patents and has over 67 publications in international journals.
She was honored with the Antarctica Award by the Government of India for her contributions to the Antarctic Expeditions. She shared the honor with colleagues Dr. Jaya Naithani and Dr. Kanwal Vilku.
- Sharma, Sathya (January 2001). Breaking the ice in Antarctica: The first Indian wintering in Antarctica. New Age International. p. 38. ISBN 9788122412901. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- "Lilavati's Daughters" (PDF). www.ias.ac.in. Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Chaturvedi, Arun. "Indian women in Antarctic expeditions : A historical perspective" (PDF). www.ias.ac.in. Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Pant, Aditi. "An Oceanographer's Life" (PDF).
- "The Antartic Oceanographer Interview". Offbeat, unusual, unconventional & interesting career interviews. 2017-05-06. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
- "Breaking the Ice: The Story of How India's Antarctic Mission Turned Ambition into Action". The Better India. 2016-06-18. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
- "The first Indian Women who visited Antarctica". scienceindia.in. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
- "Dr. Aditi Pant (Director)" (PDF).