Theoretical Sciences Unit
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research

Shobhana Narasimhan



  • I have a great interest in developing innovative teaching methods, so that students can be encouraged to move away from the traditional learning patterns imposed by the Indian educational system (which typically emphasizes rote learning) to a learning pattern that emphasizes concepts rather than facts. I am also interested in teaching writing and communication to students of science.


The courses I have taught at JNCASR are:


Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics 

Quantum Mechanics I 

Advanced Condensed Matter Physics 

Scientific Writing

Scientific Communication

  • Some of the experience I have gained while teaching Condensed Matter Physics over a number of years has been written up as a publication: S. Narasimhan, “Training the Future Scientist: Making the Transition from 'Knowledge’ to 'Synthesis’ ”, Journal of Materials Education 26, 79 (2004).


  • I also participate actively in workshops where beginning students are taught research skills, both theory and practice. I am especially interested in conducting such workshops in developing countries. In doing this, I have usually worked closely with the developers of the Quantum ESPRESSO distribution.  I have organized several such workshops, as well as taught Condensed Matter Physics, Electronic Structure and Density Functional Theory in workshops in Santa Barbara (USA), Bangalore (India), Kolkata (India), Eldoret (Kenya), Trieste (Italy) Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Cape Town (South Africa), Isfahan (Iran) and Beijing (China). I have posted slides of some of these lectures here, and you can also watch videos of some of the lectures here.


  • One unusual experiment in education, that I initiated and coordinated, resulted in a 67-author paper that was worked on jointly by lecturers and students at a workshop held in Bangalore in July 2006. Take a look at our paper! "Six C1−x O2 alloys: a possible route to stabilize carbon-based silica-like solids”, Solid State Commun. 144 273 (2007).


  • Some of my research papers have also been used as teaching aids in courses, e.g., by Ram Seshadri at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and by Nicola Marzari at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  • I introduced a course on Scientific Writing at JNCASR. In this highly interactive course, students work towards writing up a piece of research for publication in a scientific journal, as well as carry out other small exercises that help improve writing style and develop critical skills.



Academic profile




Research group


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   Last modified date: 11-10-2012