About Abhijit Mahato

On Friday, January 18, 2008, 29-year old Abhijit Mahato was killed--the victim of a senseless, violent crime. His friends, lab mates, faculty colleagues and admirers at Duke University will remember him always.


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Abhijit Mahato, originally from Tatanagar, India, was studying for an engineering doctorate degree focused on computational mechanics at Duke. At the time of his death, Abhijit was a second year graduate student and was planning to take his qualifying exams in a week.

His adviser and friend, professor Tod Laursen, characterizes Mahato as an intellectually curious and exceptionally kind, outgoing man. “He made friends very easily and always had a smile on his face. Our research team was particularly close to Abhijit--he was such a pleasure to be around. He always went out of his way to engage with people and would stop whatever he was doing and help anyone who asked. I was particularly struck by how very well read in both poetry and literature Abhijit was and how much he enjoyed conversation with others about what they were reading,” Laursen said.

Before coming to Duke, Mahato worked for GE Global Research Center in Bangalore for two years working in finite element analysis. "He was an extremely successful engineer at GE, and the company has actually submitted patents for some of the work Abhijit did while he was there," Laursen said. This prepared him well for his graduate work at Duke.

“We were working together on an industry funded research project and Abhijit’s prior industry experience helped him develop close working relationships with our partner. He understood their needs as a business and was a pleasure to work with,” said Laursen.

Mahato earned his mechanical engineering degree from Jadavpur University and a master of technology degree from the Indian Institute for Technology in Kanpur, India.