Areas of Interest & Expertise
- Science Communication
- Reporting on Gender
- Science Journalism
- Children’s Literature
- Depiction of Science and Scientists in Popular Media
I am a science communicator, journalist, and author and I am currently a Communications Consultant at Azim Premji University.
After a BSc in Biotechnology and an MSc in Bioinformatics, I studied journalism at the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai.
My first job was with The Hindu, a national newspaper based in Chennai. After two years of editing, writing and creating pages for the newspaper, I moved to Bengaluru to co-edit a monthly science magazine targeted at children.
In 2016, along with my friend and colleague Aashima Dogra, I co-founded the feminist science multimedia platform TheLifeofScience.com which covers the research and journeys of underrepresented groups in Indian science, and reports on issues of access and inequity that exist within the STEM community.
I am passionate about storytelling science and discovering novel methods to do so, especially using social media. Some of the memorable projects I have led are #365IndianWomenInSTEM (a Twitter-based campaign to highlight one woman in science working in India on each day of 2021), a mini-series on mental health in Indian science.
I am also very fortunate to have edited a special series of comics featuring transgender persons in Indian science in collaboration with several artists and writer Sayantan Datta.
My work has been published on platforms such as The Wire, Firstpost, ThePrint, Mongabay-India and Caravan.
I have along the way authored a few children’s books, the latest being Rathna and the Ring of Fire (published by Pratham Books), 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science (co-authored by Aashima Dogra and published by Penguin Books), and Anna’s Extraordinary Experiments with Weather (published by Pratham Books).
I love bird watching, trying out different kinds of food and I have a burgeoning interest in natural building.
- Jayaraj, N. & Dogra, A. (2023). Lab Hopping: Women Scientists in India. Penguin Viking. https://penguin.co.in/book/lab-hopping/
- Jayaraj, N. & Dogra, A. (2019). 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science: Women Scientists in India. Puffin Books India.
- Jayaraj, N. (2021). The World That Mai Built. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/367848-the-world-that-mai-built
- Jayaraj, N. (2021). Rathna and the Ring of Fire. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/337655-rathna-and-the-ring-of-fire
- Jayaraj, N. (2018). Anna’s Extraordinary Experiments with Weather. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/28270-anna-s-extraordinary-experiments-with-weather
- Jayaraj, N. (2019). The Louse’s New House. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/33761-the-louse-s-new-house
- Jayaraj, N. (2017). Arya in the Cockpit. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/12180-arya-in-the-cockpit
- Jayaraj, N. (2017). Raju’s First Flight. Pratham Books. https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/12151-raju-s-first-flight
Chapter in Edited Book
- Dogra, A., Jayaraj, N., & Shah, M. (2019). A Qualitative Study Exploring the Gender Gap in Indian Science– Findings from a Feminist Science Media Project. In S. Ravi (Ed). Difficult Dialogues: A compendium of contemporary essays on Gender Inequality in India. (pp. 86 — 101). Brookings India. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Difficult-Dialogue-A-compendium-of-contemporary-essays-on-gender-inequality-in-India‑1.pdf
- Jayaraj, N. (2023, March). Why India needs a museum for its fossils. Frontline. https://frontline.thehindu.com/science-and-technology/why-india-needs-a-museum-for-its-fossils-guest-column-nandita-jayaraj/article66825999.ece
- Jayaraj, N. (2023, September 18). Cats are killing India’s birds. Are we paying attention? The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/stray-cats-threat-india-birds-endanger/article67317956.ece
Peacocks Don’t Fade: The Science of Structural Colours
Explore how Akshara’s boundary-defying physics project led to the inclusion of a new lab component in a biology course.
Not a Lost ‘Caws’: Listening to the Corvids of Sarjapura
Studying crows may not change the world, but it certainly changed Aum Sarang Prabhune and Krishnapriya Tamma.
Chemistry’s Got Her Hooked: An Unconventional Scientific Journey
Aditi Chandrasekar looks back at her path to teaching, as she welcomes the University’s first batch of BSc Chemistry students.
Out of Control: India’s Bioinvasion Dilemma and the Way Out
People will understand the invasive species crisis much better when they know what it is costing them, says ecologist Alok Bang.
From Hoskote to Hawaii: The intriguing world of large telescopes
Having been around telescopes for most of his life, Proteep Mallik muses on the promises and perils of the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), and what it means for a country like India.
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Gia Goes (BSc Physics) and Kalyani Pawar (BSc BEd), budding scientists, open up about what it is like to study science at Azim Premji University. Watch out for the Rapid Fire round!
From flatworms to diagnostics: Praveen Talari’s story
Nandita Jayaraj explores how an undergraduate research project shaped Praveen Talari’s (BSc in Biology, 2017 – 19) journey in science.
The expensive simplicity of Daniel Spielman’s mathematics
A mathematician and a computer scientist, Mohan R and Ramanujam R, help us make sense of the fascinating mathematics of Daniel Spielman, a name that turns heads in the math world today.
Disentangling the quantum revolution
Jayanth Vyasanakere and Murthy OVSN help make sense of the hype around quantum computation by highlighting the tumultuous and spooky past of quantum mechanics.
How AlphaFold helps solve one of the foremost challenges in biology today
An experimental biologist and a computational biologist, Ananya Mukherjee and Shweta Ramdas, get together to discuss the new Artificial Intelligence system that can predict the structure of proteins, and its potential relevance to their own work.
Phase transitions: The magic and physics of a living cell
A physicist (Kripa Gowrishankar) and a biologist (Sravanti Uppaluri) help us understand a fundamental discovery that has brought on a new paradigm of thinking about how cells organise themselves.
Waking up to Narcolepsy
Antara Das delves into the mechanism behind a sleep disorder, a scientific discovery that just won the Breakthrough Prize, one of the biggest science prizes in the world.
Retracing Galileo’s Footsteps — An Experiment in Physics
How high would a ball dropped from the highest building in the University campus bounce? A group of physics students and faculty members at Azim Premji University found out for themselves.
Biology Research: The curious case of the ant-mimicking spider
Nandita Jayaraj explores how one crafty arachnid and two inquisitive ecologists, Divya Uma and Krishnapriya Tamma, inspired Nimish Anil, an undergraduate student of biology, to pursue a life in research.
iThink Biology: A living, breathing textbook that is free for all
Sravanti Uppaluri talks to Nandita Jayaraj about iThink Biology, an online textbook created by the Biology faculty at Azim Premji University that invites undergraduate students to see biology in a way they never have before.
Know five reasons why physicists like microscopes
Rema Krishnaswamy, physicist and keeper of microscopes at Azim Premji University, shares ways in which microscopes are useful in Physics and how it led to the initiation of the microscopy facility at Azim Premji University, with Nandita Jayaraj.
No lockdown for Physics during the COVID-19 pandemic
While many institutions resorted to simulations to cope with online science education during the pandemic, the teachers at Azim Premji University tried to keep things real. One of them, Richard Fernandes, shares stories from behind the scenes with Nandita Jayaraj.