Education: B.Sc in Physics at Presidency College Calcutta before going to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, where she obtained an M. A. and D. Phil. in Physics. Held research associateships in IBM New York, the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge and the IRC in Advanced Materials, Birmingham, before returning to India in 1995. Currently Associate Professor in Physics at the S.N. Bose National Centre , Calcutta.
Fields of Specialization:a theoretical physicist who specializes in the physics of complex systems, from sandpiles to models of the economy.
Research interests- Granular materials
a) a lattice-based approach to compaction, where the nature of the transition between the liquid and the glassy states in a vibrated granular bed is investigated.
b) an investigation using Monte Carlo simulations of ordering in an assembly of grains submitted to shaking.
c) the analysis of a model of dilute spins on a random graph, with special reference to the static and dynamical transitions.
d) a study of coupled continuum equations for sandpile surfaces.
e) the hydrodynamics of ripple formation.
f) density fluctuations in vibrated granular beds.
Awarded the Stree Shakti award for the Woman Scientist of the year 2004 .Awarded one of the Radcliffe Fellowships to Harvard for 2006-7. Elected Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee of the Forum of International Physics of the American Physical Society and profiled in the AS-ICTP newsletter. She is on the Editorial Board of Granular Matter and JSTAT.
Her other interests include Western classical music and writing. She has been a music critic and taught music appreciation and has been a freelance journalist for most of her working life, writing on a range of subjects. She has also published fiction and recently wrote an allegorical play about the world of science for an international competition.
Mehta is a consultant to the Rhodes Project, has published more than eighty scientific research articles, has edited two books, and is currently finishing a monograph, The Physics of Granular Materials, for Cambridge University Press. She has given more than a hundred talks internationally, at outlets as varied as scientific venues and UNESCO conferences.