Niraj Lal: Electricity, buddhist singing bowls and the scientific triple bottom-line

Date & time

5–6.30pm 25 July 2013


Green Couch Room, Physics Link Building 38A

Event series

How do Tumutian magnets power Canberra? What do buddhist singing bowls have in common with orgasmonic solar cells? How can we better communicate technical science to non-technical audiences? As a scientist with past experience in professional science communication, Dr Niraj Lal has spent lots of time trying to explain his research to the general public - if only to convince himself that he's doing useful stuff. In this presentation, Nij talks about electricity, nanophotonic solar cells, and discusses general principles to help communicate science at the pointy end by using analogies. Sharing some of the barriers to communication for technical scientists, Nij makes a case for the scientific equivalent of triple-bottom-line accounting.

Dr Niraj Lal is an Australian Renewable Energy Agency Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ANU trying to make solar panels better with eyeliner and buddhist singing bowls. In 2012 Nij graduated with a PhD in physics as a Gates Scholar at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Nij has taught science at all levels from pre-school to post-graduate, and is passionate about public science outreach. He has appeared on BBC Naked Scientists Radio, written an illustrated kids book about the Butterfly Effect, travelled across WA with the Scitech Science Roadshow and is currently involved with Questacon and the 2XX Biodegradio community radio show in Canberra. When not doing science, Nij is on the National Council of the Australian Wikileaks Party and stays sane by running, surfing, playing soccer, saxophone and the didgeridoo.

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