Switzerland-based doctoral researcher Sauradeep Majumdar captivated judges and global audiences alike in the FameLab International 2020 Online Final in November with his talk explaining how scientists are using carbon capture to combat climate change. 

Sauradeep, a 27-year-old doctoral researcher from the department of chemistry and chemical engineering at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), beat off strong competition from 19 scientists in the semi-final heats and final to secure the top spot in FameLab International 2020. 

We spoke to Sauradeep after his success at FameLab to hear more about his experience, his research and what's next for him.

Can you tell us a little about your background, and why you chose to undertake your scientific research in Switzerland?

I believe it was my curiosity to learn how through science and engineering we can help our society that led me into this direction.

I really wanted to do my PhD with the group of Professor Berend Smit at EPFL, as this research group is very well known around the world for their excellent research on molecular simulations, carbon capture and related fields.

Why did you enter FameLab, and how would you describe the experience?

I always loved public speaking, but I had never tried science communication in particular. So, I thought that through FameLab, I would be able to learn more about both science communication and public speaking.

I want to add that it was Alberto Antonietti (a former FameLab Italy participant) who introduced me to FameLab during a course at EPFL .

Both the national Switzerland competition as well as the online international final were amazing and really special experiences. I learned a lot and met some wonderful people.

What techniques did you use in your talk to convey technical concepts to a non-expert audience?

I mainly tried to follow the 3Cs (content, clarity and charisma) FameLab guideline to shape my talk. I asked myself the question: what is that message which I would like to share with people? And then getting feedback on my practice talks from different people – my family, my friends, my labmates, FameLab alumni – that really helped.       

Your topic was on your research in developing materials to capture CO2. Do you view this development as a major driver in tackling CO2 emissions and climate change? Will these materials become part of everyday life in the near future?

Yes, I believe this design of nanoporous materials will play a very crucial role in ‘capturing CO2’ - which has been identified as one of the most promising ways to combat climate change. Currently a few of these materials are being tested by some industries and work is going on for cost-efficient scale up of these materials from laboratories to industries. This will take some time but eventually, in the coming years, we will be seeing more of these materials around us.

What led you into this field of research?

I think it is the coming together of many of my interests. I loved the topic of global warming right from my school days. Combining chemical engineering and computer programming with it then finally led me into this field of research.

What was the highlight of your FameLab experience?

The highlight would be the fact that I could share my research with so many people all around the world. The Swiss Finals as well as the International Finals being broadcast live, made it even more special!

What’s next for you?

I will continue with my PhD research in this field. And along the way I will try to communicate my research to more people. I hope that through my work, I am able to help and inspire children, students, and society at large.

Watch all the FameLab International 2020 videos on the FameLab YouTube channel.

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