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Learning new things every day on the horizon of nanotechnology
Photo Courtesy: Professor Dr Hem Raj Pant(Facebook)
Despite being in a family of professional doctors; Professor Dr Hem Raj Pant was always interested in becoming an engineer. Though he couldn't do his bachelor's degree in engineering, he did his PhD in the engineering field. Currently, he is working as a professor in Department of Applied Sciences at Institute of Engineering (IOE), Pukchowk Campus affiliated to Tribhuvan University. Moreover, he often travels to different universities abroad as a guest lecturer. He is one of the Nepali scientists whose articles have been citied the most. And he is the recipient of Nepal Technology Award from Prime minister of Nepal (Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Government of Nepal in 2018) and he has been listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World 31st Edition, USA, 2014, among other awards and honors.
Here in an interview with My City, Prof Dr Pant shares his journey in the field of science;
Was falling in love with science due to curiosity or passion?
I should say it was both. Since my childhood I really wanted to do something in science. That must be why the curiosity as a child turned into passion for science.
How should nanotechnology be defined in basic?
In literal terms, nano is 10 – 9 meter , a strand of hair is 50 micrometers when 50 to 100 micrometers strand of hair is sectioned 1000 times, nano size is obtained. In basic term, nanotechnology is all about; chemical reaction that takes place when tissue or cell interact, either with itself or any other materials. Meanwhile, the smaller the size of the material, the surface area increases and the modification of materials turns out better.
What challenges did you come across while studying and researching about nanotechnology?
It has just been two decades since nanotechnology has been introduced. Whenever new subjects are introduced it takes time for people to learn about it and see, if it matches their passion. Since this field is still progressing here in Nepal, the perks will slowly unravel it.
What was the turning point of your life?
After completion of my Master’s degree, I worked in Herbs Production and Processing Co Ltd. (Jadi Buti Sansthan). While working there, all I had to do was follow the daily routine which did not meet my expectation of trying new things in the field of science. So, I quit my job there and went on my own way researching and contributing to the field of science.
What was your family’s reaction when you were awarded for your contribution in nanotechnology?
Well to be notified for your work is a satisfaction in itself and when I see my family's smiling faces while getting awarded I feel even more satisfied.
What are your upcoming plans?
I am helping students currently enrolled in masters and PhD research about nano material resource at IOE. Since, Nepal is blessed by nature, especially herbs, I am trying to make the most use of nanotechnology for generating new ways of modifying the herbs into medicine.
What philosophy do you use to lead your everyday life?
I believe there is something new to learn every day. And since nanotechnology is an emerging field, so there are still many areas for research. This very thing keeps me pushing forward.
1. Nepal Bidhya Bhusan from Honorable President of Nepal (Government of Nepal in 2015)
2. PhD Research Fellowship from Healthcare Development Project, Ministry of Education, South Korea (September 2009 - 2011)
3. Foreign professor scholarship from Chonbuk National University Korea (March 2010- December 2010)
- by Shreehari Poudel
- by Kiran Lama
- by Aditya Neupane