2012 Forty Under 40

Parampreet Singh, 35

Parampreet Singh, 35

Assistant professor of physics . LSU

Parampreet Singh, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU, holds a Ph.D. from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in India.

In other words, Singh is a physicist, just like Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. And though you might not have heard of him, Singh is emerging as an international expert in the field of quantum gravity.

In 2006 he presented papers on his theory at an influential conference at Penn State University. He was featured in 2010 in the BBC documentary production, What Happened Before the Big Bang? The documentary included Singh with just four other experts on quantum gravity, which has to do with the origins of the universe.

While it's impressive to have such a rock-star caliber scientist at LSU, Singh is impressed with what LSU has been able to offer him. Unbeknownst to most outsiders, his department has some of the most powerful super-computers in the world, says Singh, who uses those computers in his research. It is an ideal place for him to do his work, and Singh is glad to be here, sharing his theories and findings with his colleagues at LSU while taking advantage of the resources.

"My research is tied to the very early stages of the universe," he says. "Quantum gravity is about the marriage between quantum mechanics and gravity to help us explain fundamental questions about how the universe began."

Singh's research is based on Einstein's theory but addresses issues the big bang does not satisfactorily explain.

"Right now, we are answering certain questions that have not been answered before—like how the universe started. Conventional wisdom, via Einstein's theory, in what is known as the big bang theory basically says our universe began with a huge explosion and is now expanding outwardly, away from the point of origin. Our research shows that it was more of a big bounce."

Singh has always been passionate about the sciences and knew from his earliest days he wanted to become a scientist. He was raised in New Delhi and attended Delhi University, then lived in the U.K. and Canada before coming to the United States.

"I became what I wanted to become," he says. "I followed my dreams all the way through."

About Parampreet Singh

• Married father of one.
• Originally from New Delhi, India.
• Went to a private high school.
• Has a Ph.D.
• Speaks Hindi and Punjabi.
• Owns his home.
• Most productive in the morning.

See what Singh has in common with his fellow honorees here.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a scientist.

If you could have any job other than your own, what would it be?

If I had another lifetime, I would like to be neurobiologist.

What is your best business advice for others?

Everyone should follow their passion and fulfill their dreams. You will naturally work hard. That's what I did.

What is Baton Rouge's greatest strength in its quest to attract young professionals?

LSU provides a very great opportunity. It is unique in that there is a very warm environment among colleagues. There is a lot of room to grow. We can fulfill our dreams and the dreams of the university.

What is your favorite place in Baton Rouge?

Bluebonnet swamp. Whenever I get some time, I go there with my family.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about Baton Rouge?

Public school education. I think our kids deserve better not just here, but in in all of Louisiana. We should spend more time on science and math. We are now in competition with other countries.

Where will you be in five years?

I will be at LSU, physically. I think we will have one of the largest groups studying quantum gravity.

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