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Partnership Q&A: Jyotirmoy Mandal

Partnership Q&A: Jyotirmoy Mandal

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: "As a scientist, I am interested in observing and understanding the world around me. But on a more practical note, I am interested in using science to develop new and frugal solutions to our everyday needs - preferably in the domain of optics."

Q: What do you hope COP26 will achieve?

A: "I hope it will see some concrete initiatives from developed countries to help emerging ones to meet the latter’s climate change calls. For example: implementations of advanced climate-change mitigation technologies in resource-poor settings."

Q: What would you say to others who are interested in pursuing research that addresses energy needs in developing countries?

A: "Developing solutions in the lab, in my experience, is unfortunately the easy part. Implementing those in developing countries is a bigger challenge that in my view science cannot achieve alone. We should strive to develop international collaborations with universities, NGOs and industries in developing countries to further the benefits of our research."

Dr. Megan Kenna, Schmidt Science Fellows Executive Director, said: "The breadth of challenges that the climate emergency presents are so vast that no single scientific discipline will hold all the answers. If humanity is to stand any chance of tackling this crisis we will need insights from many scientific disciplines brought together and focused on a shared, single aim. Dr. Mandal’s work is an excellent example of this approach and its potential."


Jyoti completed his PhD in Applied Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University, where he created spectrally selective surfaces by structuring polymers and metals to selectively reflect, transmit, absorb or radiate light or heat depending on the wavelength. Such surfaces can passively cool buildings or harvest sunlight for heating applications, potentially making them low-cost and eco-friendly ways to address energy needs in developing countries. Find out more about Jyoti's work and research

As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Jyoti pivoted from creating spectrally selective surfaces for energy applications to optics and photonics. During his Fellowship year he studied the fundamentals of optical design, and combined this knowledge with his current expertise to create low-cost optical components. He now continues this work in the Raman Lab, University of California Los Angeles on an Additional Study Grant. His underlying motivation is to make the technology inexpensive and accessible for widespread use, in applications ranging from autonomous vehicles, urban design, to medical diagnosis.

Jyoti grew up in Bangladesh and is motivated by his experience of the acute need for basic resources in developing parts of the world. He is driven to harness science in the development of optical applications that can address real-world challenges in those environments, using common materials and simple methods that can be locally implemented and readily used.

Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, aims to develop the next generation of science leaders to transcend disciplines, advance discovery, and solve the world’s most pressing problems. Find out more about the Schmidt Science Fellows and their work.

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The Rhodes Scholar Blog features the excellent research from our Rhodes Scholars and their insights into important topical issues. If you would like to contribute, please contact sophie.crowe@rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk