Anita Mehta is a theoretical physicist who specializes in the physics of complex systems, from sandpiles to models of the economy. A former Rhodes Scholar (India's second woman to earn the honor) and Streeshakti Award winner, she is an associate professor at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta. 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.
While at Radcliffe, Mehta plans to continue her work on slow dynamics in granular media, and to begin new collaborative work in areas as diverse as economics and biology. She also plans to write a darkly comic novel about the world of science.
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. She was recently elected as a member-at-large to the executive committee of the Forum of International Physics of the American Physical Society, the only India-based member to have been elected to date.