Let’s talk about Science

Let’s talk about Science

Zeroing In: The Science Podcast aims to bring students and scientists together through its sessions on various scientific topics

“To make the flow of ideas, information, and the details of life in science more transparent and accessible, and open up avenues of collaboration, association, and opportunities.” This, says Naman Jain, is the principal idea behind Zeroing In: The Science Podcast.

Jain, who is currently pursuing his Ph.D from Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany, is one of the directors of the non-profit organisation Zeroing In, which has produced two seasons of interesting and informative science podcasts on topics as varied as space science and neuroscience.

The other two directors are Prajwal Patnaik, currently pursuing his Master’s from the University of Sydney, Australia and Himanshu Mishra, currently pursuing an MBA in business management from XLRI., Delhi-NCR. The organisation has seven constant members and other young people from academia, who can be loosely grouped as “students”, being undergrads, postgrads, Ph.D students and early career researchers, contribute to the making of the podcasts.

Initially created in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, “it has now branched into an independent non-profit association. We are registered as a Section 8 company now,” says Kriti Raj, a volunteer who does the outreach for Zeroing In, in an email to The Hindu. She is an Aerospace engineer, trained in the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, and is in the process of transitioning into a space scientist.

Gap in perception

The idea of Zeroing In came up because the members, as students, were conscious of a gap in students’ perception of the horizons of science. This was mainly due to the lack of interactions with leading scientists and researchers. Despite producing top-notch scientists and engineers, India is not apparent in the world map of pivotal results in science and core technologies, the group feels. “We started Zeroing In with the central aim of bridging this pronounced gap,” says Jain.

There have been 13 episodes so far, with seven in the first season and six in the second. “We are currently working on the third season,” says Raj. The third season is set to take off in the week of January 24. Originally slated for release around mid-December, it was postponed because of the website re-launch. The team has received numerous comments and feedback on the last two seasons. As Jain puts it, “The feedback from students included comments on how they have had an enriching experience of simply being able to listen to real-life scientists and researchers who are otherwise only stories in books.” Further, from college students and researchers, the group has received wishes to have some of the sessions published as video podcasts, to delve more into interdisciplinary ideas, and also to foray into the less-talked-about subjects in school curricula. “Up to now, we have had over 20,000 listens on our content,” he says.

The group tries to publish one episode every two weeks, and the podcasts can be heard from all popular platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, RadioPublic, and Anchor, in addition to being popularised on social media. “It is important to acknowledge that this initiative grew out of the support of the Alumni Association of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology,” says Jain. “Zeroing In has evolved organically into an independent not-for-profit organisation, and while it is currently thriving on minimal costs, which definitely is difficult and limiting. We are in discussions with a very promising opportunity for support.”

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Author: admin