Please tell us about yourself
Helping us all better understand issues that can be highly technical and complicated is something that drives Ketan and he now writes for numerous publications include the ABC, The Guardian, Business Spectator, The Wheeler Centre, Renew Economy and many more.
Ketan Joshi is a Bachelor of Science graduate who is passionate about communicating science to the world. Find out why he chose to study science and where his career has led him.
I did a science degree at Sydney University, and since I was a teenager I’ve loved science, technology, philosophy and psychology. I worked in the renewable energy industry for about eight years, doing operational monitoring, data analysis, community engagement and corporate communications.
Now, I work in data science communications at a government science agency. It’s really cool.
My passion is communicating complex, technical concepts in highly accessible ways; seeking to entertain and educate, rather than patronise or over-simplify. I also think the political, social and cultural context of technology and science should be front and centre – own it, don’t avoid it.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?
Ketan Joshi (BSc ’08) and a friend were “doing the rounds” at different universities when they were stunned by sandstone as they entered the University of Sydney.
Making their way further into campus, they came across a towering liquid nitrogen container and an impressive physics building.
It was clear to Ketan from the outset that scientific inquiry was part of the heritage of the University and that played a big role in his decision to study there.
Why did you choose to study science?
I felt like I’d decided to focus on science many years before university. At its core, my interest lies in understanding what happens to our perception of the world when you remove all of the biases and schemas that are pre-installed in our brain – vestigial remnants of our evolution that tend to skew our understanding of nature.
Science gives us answers that are the least likely to be wrong (they’re never perfect, and they really never ought to be). This field of inquiry is what makes science so compelling.
Looking back now, what was the best part of your studies?
I only really started getting good marks in my later years, and I didn’t quite understand why at the time. It was then that I began to discover subjects that thrilled me, in addition to piquing my interest.
Studying the human mind in my psychology and neuroscience majors at University of Sydney, through patterns of behaviour alongside its physical and chemical architecture, made me feel a thrill I hadn’t really felt before. It went far beyond learning – it gave me direct access to some great, dedicated researchers leading their field in a monumentally important subset of scientific inquiry.
Where has your career led you?
I’ve become what I originally aspired to be – a prominent, unique and articulate science communicator steeped in the culture, politics and analytical depths that the public understanding of science has to offer.
I’ve worked in energy and data science. The challenge of climate action is a neat amalgamation of everything that I find compelling about science, culture and politics, and I feel like it’s going to be my centre of gravity for life.
How did your degree help get you there?
University taught me that science is never static, and never simple. My ability to learn, study and research evolved more slowly, through university and afterwards.
But, the University of Sydney instilled the emotion and the drama around science and science communication. Like a great film or song you hear when you are young that just sticks with you for the rest of your life – science became a thrill thanks to the enthusiastic, intellectual and skilled academics.
What excites you most about your work?
Having first-hand access to great scientists and amazing research that investigates technologies that are redefining what it means to be human – on an environmental, social, economic and personal scale.
What advice do you have for anyone considering a career in science?
Learn about the culture and the history of science. Understand the big, looming and serious political and societal issues around science. Shying away from these might work in the short term, but in the end, the lab is always more closely linked to the outside world than you might assume.
Start early, and start strong – the world needs science, and that means the world needs to understand science.