Brazil to Kerala

first_imgThe 6,000-km Hamza river flows under the Amazon, an India connect to the world’s longest river. And Valiya Mannathal Hamza, the Brazil-based scientist from Kerala who helped in the discovery of the underground river with his student, says he is thrilled their research has attracted such attention.The Indian-origin professor at the National Observatory, Rio de Janeiro, has just been bestowed the rare honour of having the underground river flowing under the Amazon being named after him.Brazilian scientists, who discovered the existence of the underground river last week, took the decision to name it after Hamza, in a tribute to his four-decade work in the region.“I am happy that our research has attracted attention,” Hamza, 70, told IANS over the phone.It was past midnight in Rio de Janeiro when he took the telephone call. Hamza sounded enthusiastic but was also modest at his achievement.My students decided to “name” the underground river after me, said Hamza, who has been in Brazil for nearly 40 years.Hamza said his student Elizabeth Tavares Pimentel was working on her thesis when the study revealed the existence of the river below the Amazon.The discovery was made possible thanks to research work performed at 241 wells that an oil company drilled in the Amazon region in the 1970s while prospecting for crude, according to the study.The subterranean river runs at a depth of about 4,000 metres along a course similar to that of the Amazon.The flow is just three percent of that of the Amazon river, which has its headwaters in the Peruvian jungle, empties into the Atlantic in northern Brazil and at 6,800 km is considered to be the world’s longest river.“It is possible,” said Hamza when asked whether he would like to return to India to work on some project.Hamza, who did his BSc in 1962 and MSc in 1964 from the University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, moved to Canada to do his PhD in 1973.“I come from a place near Calicut in Kerala,” said Hamza, who first set foot in Brazil in 1974 and has since been conducting research work there.Hamza, a geophysicist who works with graduate and postgraduate students, has to his credit over 100 publications in national and international journals.Did he ever think he would spend a good part of his life in Brazil when he was in Kerala?“Well, I don’t know…That’s difficult…,” said Hamza.And what about learning Portuguese?“I had to teach students so I had to learn Portuguese,” said the Indian-origin scientist before signing off. Related Itemslast_img

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