Jatan Mehta is the Science writer & officer at the TeamIndus Moon mission. He is a lifetime Astrophysics student and is passionate about #space and #technology.
How was your academic time?
Whilst your academic education doesn’t strictly define what you can learn and professionally do in life, it does get you started. My Physics post-graduation has gone a long way to shape my critical thinking skills. On the other hand, my academic environment didn’t reward creativity and flexibility in problem solving. It didn’t help further that I was only an average student, in which case the internet was always helpful.
How did you end up as a science writer for a Moon mission?
Ever since I was a child, I was interested in all things space. This is what led me to take Physics and Astrophysics in a quest to understand the inner workings of the Universe. An interest in accompanying technology also grew naturally. On the other hand, I was also keen on science popularization and had various blogs of my own at different points of time.
Last year my science blogging efforts started reaching a wide audience and that’s when I realized I have become acceptably good at communicating science. Shortly after, my current job opportunity came. I was contacted by TeamIndus to join as their science writer, to explain the science and tech of a Moon mission. And so here I am!
What helped you to get to where you are today?
Firstly, it’s definitely my Physics background in academics. Studying Physics has given me the ability to grasp complex topics across a wide range of subjects with relative ease. Though I do wonder where taking up Mathematics might have led me.
On the writing end, the enabling seeds were planted half a decade back. It is through interest in communicating science and technology over the years that I have been able to improve my writing to an acceptable point. Both the physics background and years of science communication efforts helped me be where I am.
How did you prepare for the interview?
For a science writer, the interview is already done by the virtue of the quality of your articles that are already out. 🙂
Reads that helped you?
Books by Stephen Hawking, a lot of science fiction.
A lot of general science and technology reading on the internet.
Both taking up physics and full-time science writing are not much appreciated by society in general. How do you overcome this social stigma of society?
I think if people are made to see the benefits, they then understand the needs. Roots of technology lie in physics and the rest of the sciences. Understanding nature is not merely a curiosity (thought it should be enough of a justification I think), but also a first principal of any advanced civilization. And science writing is a way to communicate the beauty and the need of it all.
Back to humans, while my parents, friends and family members were always supportive in general, most people I know started realizing the rewards of working in these fields after I landed the job successfully. So the takeaway is that do something that’s important to you and be good at it. It’s not an original note, but it’s true.
Things are changing very fast in the industry, how do you keep yourself updated?
I have always enjoyed delving into details more than keeping myself abreast with the latest news. Having said that, reddit is a good place to summarize to the lazy ones as to what’s happening in your field. I do think not being updated with the latest news has its downsides but maybe I will get onto doing it someday.
What can you recommend on a CV?
Well, I don’t think people should be taking advice from me on this but if I were to answer, it would be this: Be concise about your skills and core experience, let the rest of your experience come out in the interview.
Advice for someone looking for job?
Again, not the right person to seek advice from for a job. But I can tell you (rather mundanely) that if you are good at what you do, and more importantly that you try to keep doing it better, you will land a worthy job.
Where to find you?
On the Internet: https://en.gravatar.com/uncertainquark