How mindfulness helps to pursue your own path

Minerva’s daughters: Sayantani Das is a Postdoc at the institute

May 22, 2024

Her path led her from India via the United States of America to Mülheim an der Ruhr. Dr. Sayantani Das works as a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Prof. Benjamin List. In this interview, she explains what she likes so much about her work at the Institute. 

Sayantani Das works as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the group of Benjamin List. Together with her colleagues, she develops new powerful yet sustainable catalysts and reactions to improve certain processes within the Chemical industries.

What brought you here? Tell us about your way to the Kohlenforschung!
Sayantani Das: I did my Bachelor in Chemistry at Kalyani University and my Master’s Degree in IIT-Bombay. After that, I wished to obtain my PhD and went to Rutgers University in New Jersey in the United States. After that I came to the MPI für Kohlenforschung in Germany for a Postdoc. First, I have been in the Department of Heterogeneous Catalysis for one year, before I switched to the Department of Homogeneous Catalysis. Why I ended up in Chemistry in the first place? This is my chemistry teacher’s fault, I guess (laughs). She was really great and I learned a lot from her during High School, especially passion for this particular science.

What do you like about your work?
Sayantani: I do really enjoy my freedom in the lab. I can work what I think is right to do when it comes to my research. I really appreciate how our group celebrates small and big successes, good results or a new paper in a high impact journal, for instance. I find this encouraging.

What are your professional goals?
Sayantani: I hope that my work on molecules will affect society in a way. I would be very happy if I could help to improve peoples’ lives with my work. I think we are facing many challenges as humankind, and changing the situation for the better with our work on molecules would be very nice.

What was your most difficult step so far?
Sayantani: I had my training in Inorganic chemistry and Heterogeneous Catalysis, and switching to Homogeneous Catalysis was really a big step, as this is a completely different field. I had to take baby steps and I had to learn a lot. I think I am not quite there yet, but I have made progress, and things work quite okay now.

Do you have a role model?
Sayantani: My grandmother has always been a truly inspiring person for my sister and me. She did not go to school herself; she did not have the opportunity. So, my sister’s and my education was very, very important for her. She kept pushing us in the right direction, I truly believe, and I am very grateful for this.

What advice would you give to young girls who are interested in working in a scientific institution?
Sayantani: In my opinion, we should first find out what we really love to do. As soon as we have found out, it is much easier to follow our own pattern. I also found it very helpful to cultivate mindfulness. By this, I mean to practice on your ability to focus on something. This will help you through difficult times.

If you had one wish: What would it be?
Sayantani: I really would love to have the opportunity to go to Africa with UNICEF and teach kids in one of their projects for a while.

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View