He got this honour for his distinguished contribution to the study of the Quantum Chromodynamics Phase Diagram and the search for the QCD Critical Point in High-Energy Nuclear Collisions at both the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Mohanty has contributed to the establishment of the quark-hadron transition and first direct comparison between experimental high energy heavy-ion collisions data and QCD calculations. Physics World had considered it among the 10 best in the year 2011.
His work in the STAR experiment has led to an exciting possibility of the existence of a critical point in the phase diagram of QCD. One of this work established the observable for the critical point search in the experiment. This is considered as a landmark work in the field.
He has very successfully led the beam energy scan physics program in this direction to publish important scientific papers in Physical Review Letters related to the QCD Critical Point. He was instrumental in pushing for such a program at Quark Matter 2009. Then demonstrated the readiness of the STAR detector and the Collider to undertake the proposed QCD critical point search and the exploration of the QCD phase diagram at relativistic heavy ion collider (RHIC).
He has made significant contribution to the discovery of the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) in the laboratory. This state of matter existed in the first few microsecond old Universe. In such matter, quarks and gluons are de-confined and move freely in volumes much larger than nucleonic scales. In order to achieve such matter in the laboratory, temperatures of the order of 1012 kelvins need to be created. The quark-gluon plasma allows for studying transport properties like viscosity, thermal conductivity, opacity and diffusion co-efficient of QCD matter.
Mohanty has several significant papers on signatures that experimentally confirm the existence of QGP, related to observation of strangeness enhancement in heavy-ion collisions, jet quenching effect, and partonic collectivity.
He has been selected for all the three Academy fellows in India. He got the highest award in Science in India- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in the year 2015. He is also the recipient of JC Bose Fellow in 2016. Other than these he is the recipient of many awards in the field of Physical Sciences.