Published 27 June 2013 by Akshat Rathi

From a small city in India to the big world of science

Sarika Goel grew up in India in a small city called Meerut in the state of Uttar Pradesh. As a curious child she grew to love science and chose to study engineering. After completing undergraduate studies in chemical engineering in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, she joined to the University of California at Berekely to pursue a PhD.

Now with three other young researchers, Sarika will be video blogging her time at the Lindau meeting. In her career so far, Sarika has managed to overcome many challenges and has won many laurels in the process. So her chosen theme is apt: “Facing challenges and inspiring others in science”. Even with project deadlines looming on her head, Sarika took time to answer some questions about her life, science and video blogging.

Sarika Goel

Why did you become a scientist?

As a child, like the small city I come from, my dreams were also small. I never really thought about doing higher studies until the day my results for 12th standard came. I came at the top of my state among girls and that made me see bigger dreams.

I have always been very keen to know how things work and how we can make things work more efficiently. This curiousity won and became a major driving force for me to study engineering. During my engineering studies, while I was doing research work for my undergraduate thesis, I realised how awesome research is. And that love for research brought me to Berkeley on tweaking the properties of small molecules to make useful bigger molecules.

My PhD has been a great learning experience so far. The thing about research that I love the most is the freedom and opportunity I get to learn new things every day.

The theme for your videos is “Facing challenges and inspiring others in science”. What’s it all about?

Scientists not only share curiosity with their fellow researchers but also a responsibility toward future generations. In this video blog, I want to show how do Nobel Laureates and young researchers tackle challenges and obstacles? What did they learn on the way? What did they teach others? I want to know how we can inspire and encourage each other and the next generation of leading scientists.

How will you go about making videos on that theme? 

I believe that everyone can relate to the deepest influence on us. Thus, to get true inspiration we should be able to relate to the source of inspiration. I will be interviewing Nobel Laureates and young researchers and in their own words, we together will learn their individual key to success, the challenges they faced in their lives and research career and how did they overcome those and succeed.

What will make your video blogging expedition successful?

I’d like to bring out personal perspective of individual researchers. The challenges they face and the successes they have in the process. I believe those will have deep influences on the viewers my of video blog.

What do you hope to take away from the Lindau meeting?

I am very excited about meeting Nobel Laureates in person. I am looking forward to interacting with them and with other young researchers from all around the world. There will be many exciting discussions about science. I hope to learn about all the awesome research happening in the world, to make friends and bring memories that I will cherish all my life.

Akshat Rathi

Akshat Rathi is a reporter for Quartz ( in London. He has previously worked at The Economist and The Conversation. His writing has appeared in Nature, The Guardian and The Hindu. He has a PhD in chemistry from Oxford University and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai.