We need to treat waste with the respect it deserves.

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Veena grew up in Mumbai where, for reasons of poverty and need, Indians have created an economy that finds ways to extract value from waste. Aided by her background, education and research, which ranged from witnessing the recycling of waste into everyday life in Mumbai to her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, Veena has won numerous awards for her invention which incorporates waste plastics as a carbon source for steelmaking. In 2005 she received Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for Scientific Research. In 2011 Veena won the prestigous Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award given by the President of India in acknowledgement of her outstanding achievement in the field of science and in recognition of her valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India and in fostering the interests of overseas Indians. Veena is the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT@UNSW) - a centre which works with industry in the development of innovative materials and processes and the reduction of energy consumption. Veena also presents on the TV show “New Inventors” - a show that celebrates the inventiveness and resourcefulness of the human mind, and she attempts to get the younger generation, especially girls, interested in Science as a vocation.


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: UNSW, Randwick, Sydney

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