Monash researcher named Top 5 Scientist Under 40

Niraj Lal

Monash physicist and materials-engineer Niraj Lal has been named in Radio National’s coveted list of Top 5 Scientists Under 40.

The list is an initiative of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National program, in conjunction with the University of Sydney, who each year embark on a nationwide search to discover Australia's next generation of science communicators, with the winners spending a 10 day residency at the ABC Headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney.

Judges are particularly interested in identifying leading early-career researchers who display a flair and passion for communicating their work.

This year, the judges were so impressed with the calibre of entrants they chose six young researchers from close to 150 applications to undertake a Scientists in Residence program at Radio National in 2016.

Among those was Niraj Lal, from the Monash University Renewable Energy Laboratory and CSIRO Nanomaterials and Devices Team.

Niraj is currently working on nanophotonics for photovoltaics - “using tiny structures that interact strangely with light to increase the efficiency of next-generation solar cells”.

The 32-year-old said he was stoked to be named on the list and explained that a motivation for his work is to improve access to electricity across the globe.

“1.4 billion people currently don’t have access to electricity. Making efficient low-cost solar panels can help sustainably build social justice for the world, both for our generation and those to come,” he said.

Radio National’s The Science Show presenter, Robyn Williams, who was one of the judges said: "We have noted in The Science Show on many occasions that the standard of science communication in Australia has improved spectacularly.”

“Our young scientists, through competitions and practice, have reached scintillating form. For this reason we, the judges, found ourselves compelled to recognise six under 40 instead of only five.”

“We are delighted to acknowledge such a superb standard of achievement and look forward to welcoming them all to the ABC,” he said.

Original story