Niraj Lal

I work in Renewable Energy, Nanophotonics, and Science Outreach.

In 2012 I graduated as a Gates Scholar with a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge. In 2016 I became a dad! and was named one of the ABC's Top 5 Scientists Under 40 for my research on solar cell nanophotonics. In 2017 I joined the Vic Department of Environment, New Energy Technologies team, and got my first gig on ABC TV with Todd Sampson's Life on the Line Series, followed by shows with The Discovery Channel and ABC SCIENCEY.
I'm currently a Physics Consultant to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Exciton Science, Visiting Fellow with the ANU Centre of Sustainable Energy Systems, Director of First Principles and Founder of Previous jobs include being a long-line tuna fishing boat deckhand out of Coffs Harbour, a bicycle courier in Perth, and Lecturer of the Renewable Energy course at the ANU.

I'm passionate about environmental sustainability, transparent governance and science communication - bio here.

Founder:, Noise vs Signal, Hungry Science Beast, Raio de Sol Community Samba Drumming Band.

YouTube channel here, ABC broadcasts here, Launch of @ the Australian Academy of Science here.
More things below:


My publications span the fields of physics, nanoscience, and energy, with a focus on making solar panels more efficient by using nanophotonics - tiny structures that interact crazily with light.

Recent publications: “Transparent long-pass filter... based on Morpho butterfly nanostructures" ACS Photonics 2017; and “Perovsite Tandem Solar Cells" Advanced Energy Materials, 2017;

more research info here.


I'm a previous lecturer of the Renewable Energy course at the ANU. My favourite exam (with solutions) is here .

Learning the physics and engineering of renewable energy technologies and thinking critically about their role in the future.


I'm super passionate about Science Outreach.
On radio, telly, in print, and through high-energy hands-on science shows. Recent gigs with the Discovery Channel and ABC Digital. More info here.

Other things

Children's books

I've written two children's stories - one about chaos theory and another about an emu that learns how to fly by going into gravitational orbit.
Recently broadcast on the ABC RN Science Show!

"...a gifted writer of children's stories"

- Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Political things

I'm Founder and CEO of - a global wisdom-sharing website, author of, a current member of the Australian Greens and previous Founding National Council Member of the Australian Wikileaks Party. More political things at my blog here. twitter @nirajnlal

Playing music

I'm founding director of the Raio de Sol Canberra Community Samba Drumming Band, former saxophonist with The Valence Band and cajon-player with the roograss band The Lazy Harrys in an expression of the future of Australian music. 2015 EP here,

External links

Critical Mass

Last friday of every month.