In 2018, our friends at Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, signed us up to produce a ‘Women in Science’ photo exhibition on occasion of International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11. In addition, we also created memorabilia, a desktop calendar featuring these women. The calendar went ‘viral’ so to speak, and soon enough, we were gratified to see it find its way to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind (via the Principal Scientific Advisor K. VijayRaghavan). This sparked off TheLifeofScience.com’s annual tradition.
On February 11, 2021, we release the 4th edition of this calendar. This time, we experimented with breaking away from the individual-driven celebration of science, and as we suspected that allowed us to be so much more inclusive. It resulted in the evolution into ‘Indian Women, Transgender & Non-binary Persons in Science 2021-22′.
This year’s calendar honors various ways in which women, transgender and non-binary persons are contributing to science in India. It features around 40 contemporary individuals who are helping the growth of Indian scientific and academic ecosystem. The calendar also comes with access to resources where you can learn more about the featured people and their work.
This edition of the calendar was made in partnership with Centre for Advanced Learning (CFAL), Mangalore.
(*the physical copies of the calendars are currently sold out. To order in bulk, write to us at labhopping[at]thelifeofscience[dot]com)
Meet our calendar stars
A Mani is a researcher in pure mathematics and logic.
You can read more about her in this personal essay she penned for TLoS’s Mental Health series.
Sudipta Sengupta is a structural geologist & mountaineer who was the first female geologist from India to work in Antarctica. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
Srubabati Goswami is a phenomenologist at PRL Ahmedabad studying neutrino oscillations. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
Radhika Nair is a cancer biologist at RGCB Thiruvananthapuram studying why cancer cells ‘move’ or metastasise. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
Boby KV is a lab technician at TIFR Mumbai creating and maintaining the systems on which the experiments run. Over the years, Boby has done everything from fabricating small electrodes to supervising the construction of facilities at her institute. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
Bhagyashree Chalke is a scientific officer at TIFR Mumbai who, with her team, oversees five electron microscopes – massive beasts that let you peer closely at objects measuring mere nanometers across. You can read more about her work in this TLoS report.
Beena DB is a lab manager who was recently made a faculty member of biology at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. Today she designs new lab activities based on her research protocols, teaches, mentors and guides undergraduate students’ projects and much more. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
Shalini Mahadev is a PhD scholar at University of Hyderabad trying to understand how rice grasshoppers communicate and the possible neurons involved. You can read more about her journey in this TLoS report.
We also recommend her insight on the idea of ‘scientific genius’.
Rubina Mulchandani is a PhD scholar in clinical research at Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, located in the Delhi NCR region. She spoke to TLoS about the effects of the pandemic on her work and on gender dynamics, in this webinar + report.
Nidhi Singh is a research scholar at BHU Varanasi trying to establish the relationship between the trends of the changing climate and diseases. You can read more about her work in this TLoS report.
Praachi Tiwari is a PhD student at TIFR Mumbai trying to understand the mechanisms that regulate susceptibility to anxiety and depression. You can read about her views on mental health in academia through this conversation with her advisor published on TLoS.
Smitha Hegde is a pteridologist at Nitte University, Mangaluru, one of India’s foremost experts on ferns. You can read more about her work & journey in this TLoS report.
Ecologist and conservation researcher Vena Kapoor ‘s area of expertise and work with the Nature Conservation Foundation is in developing a well-researched nature learning curriculum and outreach material for primary schools with a scientific lens using education theory and pedagogical practices. She also conducts workshops, talks, walks for adults and children to introduce them to the fascinating world of insects, spiders and nature around them. Check out this TLoS report for some of her favourite spiders!
Mrinal Shah is a microbiologist and science educator at Seed2Sapling trained in curriculum design and pedagogies. She has been involved in various scicomm and outreach activities, including for TheLifeofScience.com.
Anju is a particle physicist who has led teams of students and scientists in Jammu fabricating designs for detectors used in large particle accelerators around the world. In the recent past she set up a new university Cluster University of Jammu as its Founding Vice Chancellor and is now forming a new team of physicists at CERN, Geneva. Listen to this podcast featuring her.
Sarah’s focus has been on advancing the India science community by streamlining grants towards biomedical research & public engagement initiatives, and strengthening networks that are pushing forward the limits of homegrown labs across the country.
Ramadevi returned to India after years of dedicated work in cancer research. On her return she was tasked to revive the defunct veterinary department and hospital in Banaras Hindu University that she has excelled in. On the new campus of BHU in Varanasi the newly animal facilities are now taking up advanced research projects under Rama’s highly trained vision. Here’s her profile from Season 1, from back when we met her in 2016.
Urmi Nanda Biswas
At M S University in Baroda, Urmi leads the psychology department as a professor, training students in social psychology along with participating in various international projects to understand motivations of women at work in the context of globalisation. Here’s a profile of her from Season 1.
Shruti Muralidhar is a neuroscientist and scicommer who co-founded two really important initiatives – IndSciComm and BiasWatchIndia. You can read her report for TLoS on unpaid internships here.
Harini is an ecologist at Azim Premji University. She has authored multiple books, but is arguably best known for Cities and Canopies, which she co-authored with Seema Mundoli. Read our interview with the duo here.
Karishma is a physician-scientist studying human-relevant infection biology in her lab at Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune. Read the personal essay she penned for TLoS here.
Varuni P is a biologist and outreach associate at IMSc Chennai. She has organised and co-ordinated dozens of science outreach programmes in the past many years including our TLoS’s first Women in Science calendar & travelling photo exhibition! Here is a report about one of them.
Priyanka is a science and health journalist who is currently doing very important reporting during the pandemic. Priyanka was one of the people featured in TLoS’s Covid Zine Achoouu! Check out the zine here.
Sandhya is a science journalist and a science editor at ThePrint.in. She worked with TLoS for a Season 3 assignment where she interviewed Farah Ishtiaq. You can read her report here. There is also a comic version of Sandhya’s report.
Shubashree is a theoretical condensed matter physicist-turned science journalist at The Hindu in Chennai. She also translates books between Tamil and English.
Riddhi studied molecular biology before becoming the award-winning poet, journalist and researcher they are today. Their work focuses on disability justice, public health, gender, rights and development, climate and culture. Read their reportage on the mental health crisis in Indian academia for TLoS in 2019.
Dhara Mehrotra, is a visual artist based in Bangalore. She believes that sciart increases accessibility to create better hypotheses and understanding of scientific phenomena for different audiences. Watch Dhara speak about what sciart means to her.
Upasana Agarwal is a Kolkata-based non-binary artist with a rich and renowned body of work. They have illustrated the book 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science and have also illustrated a comix of the life and science of Bittu K.
Vidhya, a visually disabled person and co-founder of Vision Empower, a social enterprise incubated at IIIT Bangalore that aims to empower children with visual disabilities to pursue science and mathematics education. She has contributed her insight in a report titled ‘Nothing special about these needs’ that was published during season 5 of TheLifeofScience.com. Read more about her journey in science.
Aardra Chandra Mouli
After a biotech and business degree, Aardra joined forces with her friend Gayatri to start a sustainable based biotech company Aeka Biochemicals. Aardra’s venture offers products and services to improve soil quality to get Kerala on its feet to do organic farming on a large scale. Here’s a TLoS profile featuring Aardra.
Jugnu is a molecular cell biologist who opened a biobank – a library of human tissues, freezing many diseased conditions with them that can be studied to unlock biomedical research questions. She is a big believer in the resilience of scientific experimentation.
Gita Chadha is a sociologist at University of Mumbai where she looks at the intersections between science and society. She has contributed significantly to a nuanced understanding of how society and science contribute to and impact each other. Listen to her talk about deconstructing the notion of the ‘scientific genius’ here.
Vaishali Khandekar is a PhD student of sociology at Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. She is Dalit and has helped us understand nuances of caste oppression in Indian academia. Read more here.
Chayanika Shah is an independent researcher and feminist scholar who is also a physicist by training. She has spoken about gender and queer politics, and their intersections with physics academia here.
Aatika Singh is an anti-caste artist who has helped us understand why it is important to look at mental health through an anti-caste lens.
Grace Banu is a Dalit transgender woman and a firebrand activist for the rights of transgender and caste-oppressed people in the country. She is a technologist who has faced major discriminations in her journey in science and now works towards educating transgender people so that they may crack government examinations. Read about her life here.
Chinmayi is a technologist focussed on inclusivity in the digital realm as we slip into it. She started the feminist Bachao Project studying and questioning the lack of rights of minorities in the times of unprecedented internet shutdown in India and neighbouring regions. Here’s an article on Chinmayi’s manual for creating technology for all.
Prajval Shastri is a practicing astrophysicist and chair of the Indian Physics Association’s Gender in Physics Working Group. She is vocal about the need for diversity and inclusion in science and has been featured in the book 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science. Recently, she contributed to the issue of the ‘Hyderabad Charter for Gender Equity in Physics’.
Besides these contemporary individuals, the calendar also honours the contributions of other staff members in any institute who help with critical aspects of our lives such as childcare, catering, maintenance, security, etc.. The calendar ends with a tribute to the achievements and struggles of women in STEM who came before us, without which our paths would be much more rocky.
Would you like to take a look at the calendar? It is free for download in PDF & JPEG formats.
If you desire to print out the calendar for yourself or in bulk, we are also making the hi-res print-ready file available for purchase in our store. Please do write to us if you have plans to distribute it in bulk. We would love to spread the word to encourage others to follow suit, and perhaps even participate in the programme in some manner.
Produced by Nandita Jayaraj, Aashima Dogra & Sayantan Datta | Supported by Centre for Advanced Learning (CFAL), Mangaluru | Design & illustrations by Ayesha Punjabi. We thank Aishwarya V. for social media help!