Jyotirmoy Mandal Named a Schmidt Science Fellow

Apr 09 2019 | By Holly Evarts

Jyotirmoy Mandal, a PhD candidate in the department of applied physics & applied mathematics, has been selected as a Schmidt Science Fellow, an innovative post-doctoral program focused on developing the “next generation of interdisciplinary science leaders to tackle the world’s most significant problems and maximize scientific opportunities for society.”

He is one of 20 young researchers from 15 countries chosen for this program, now in its second year that was founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt in partnership with the Rhodes Trust. Each fellow is awarded a stipend of $100,000 and receives personalized mentoring from experienced and internationally accomplished scientists.

For his doctoral studies, Mandal, who works with Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and in collaboration with Nanfang Yu, associate professor of applied physics, has focused on spectrally selective designs. One of his works, on a paintable polymer coating that can passively cool buildings, was published in Science, while another, on a selective solar absorber design for harvesting solar heat was published in Advanced Materials. Having grown up in Bangladesh, Mandal has sought to create these designs using common materials and simple techniques, and is working towards their implementation in developing countries.

As a postdoctoral scholar, Mandal plans to study the fundamentals of optical design, and combine the knowledge he gains with his current expertise to create low-cost optical components for next-generation cameras and imaging systems.

“I am thankful for this exciting opportunity to embark on this new field and broaden my scientific knowledge,” says Mandal, who received his BA degree in physics and mathematics, with a minor in materials science and engineering, in 2014. “The Schmidt Science Fellowship is an extraordinary honor, which will support my desire to simultaneously understand the fundamentals of optics and pursue the design of novel and inexpensive technologies that address critical needs in resource-poor communities. This has been possible because of the guidance and support from my advisor, colleagues at Columbia and Vanderbilt Universities, friends, and my family, and I am deeply grateful to all of them.”

Through an initial commitment of at least $25 million for the first three years, the Schmidt Science Fellowship program is part of a broader $100 million effort by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research over the next decade and beyond. In addition to their $100,000 award stipends, fellows, once they have received their PhDs, are placed in world-leading research environments that offer a disciplinary pivot from their current work so that they are exposed to new ideas and techniques from a different scientific discipline.

Jyotirmoy Mandal

From left: Nanfang Yu, Yuan Yang, and Jyotirmoy Mandal

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