Gates scholar highlights innovative Rising Stars programme

  • January 7, 2011
Gates scholar highlights innovative Rising Stars programme

Niraj Lal has written about Rising Stars in British Science Association magazine.

Gates scholar Niraj Lal [2008] has been featured in a British Science Association People and Science article on a pioneering communications programme run by the University of Cambridge.

PhD student Niraj took part in the Rising Stars programme, which is run by the Community Affairs Department at the University and aims to give outstanding undergraduates, postgraduates, post-docs and early career academics the chance to develop their communication skills.

He says it gave him not only the skills to get over complex scientific ideas to the general public, but also taught him how to keep them engaged. It also led to other opportunities, including a session on a BBC radio Naked Scientists show on the science of how solar cells work, presentations to foster care and in care students on the science of electricity and work with hard-to-reach students on a film for the science of the future.

Niraj believes the programme will help him to communicate with all sorts of audiences “including august academic ones”.

He says outreach work is vital for scientists because it helps explain the wonders of science to children and gets them engaged in what can be challenging concepts. It also gives something back to a community which is giving scientists “vast amounts of funding”.

He says: “When the best bits of science are conveyed in a way that’s intuitive and understandable, and I think all good science can be, the amazement shines through. Seeing that expression of wonderment – the realisation that nature truly is incredible – is absolutely priceless and is one of the biggest joys of engaging in outreach.”

Nirajis studying for a PhD in physics. He is in the NanoPhotonics Group researching how to make solar cells more efficient with nanosized Buddhist singing bowls. He was a 2009 Rising Star.

To read Niraj’s article, click here.

Picture credit: Filomena Scalise and www.freedigitalphotos.net

Latest News

Building Indigenous people’s citizenship rights: the role of heritage

Oscar Espinoza Martin [2024] sees archaeology and cultural heritage as tools for strengthening Indigenous people’s sense of citizenship. “It is important how people feel about their past and how they navigate from there to the present,” he says. As an Indigenous person growing up in Lima with an early interest in history and philosophy, he […]

Scholar appointed VP of the Human Frontier Science Program

A former Gates Cambridge Scholar has been elected a Vice President of the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), an international programme funding excellent frontier research in the life sciences. Christian Boehm’s appointment was announced in late June at an event in Washington D.C. to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the HFSP. The programme, founded in […]

Inside Unit X

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has co-authored a book which gives an inside look at Unit X, the elite unit within the Pentagon that brings Silicon Valley’s cutting-edge technology to America’s military. Christopher Kirchhoff is co-author with Raj M Shah of Unit X: How the Pentagon and Silicon Valley Are Transforming the Future of War, published […]

Gates Cambridge welcomes new Interim Director

Dr Holly Tilbrook has been appointed Interim Director of Gates Cambridge. Currently Deputy Director in the Academic Centres Division at the University of Cambridge, Dr Tilbrook joins Gates Cambridge in August following a diverse career at the University of Cambridge. She describes herself as “the classic generalist administrator”. Starting in the Faculty of Classics in […]