“I am proud that as a Baloch and Pakistani, I’m the first one to work as a space scientist at the University of Cambridge.”
Date of Birth: March 20, 1986
Hometown: Buleda (near Turbat)
Education: Bachelors and Masters in Metallurgy and Material Engineering from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI), Islamabad
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Developing materials and devices for energy and environmental applications from University of Cambridge
Profession: Senior Research Scientist and Teaching fellow at the University of Cambridge
Q: What do you exactly do at Cambridge?
Yarjan: I work with space based technologies and graphene, which is implemented in space crafts for replication in space. I was among the team of scientists who were the first to test graphene in real space environment.
Q: What were the obstacles that you faced as a child from Buleda?
Yarjan: From school to college, and up to university level people who have studied from underdeveloped areas lack direction and guidance in general due to compromised quality of education. There are a few exceptional cases, but the system should be such as to accommodate an average student as well. This is where I want to contribute back to my hometown.
Q: What inspired you to become what you are today?
Yarjan: As a child, I was always intrigued by the national heroes we studied about in school such as Dr AQ Khan and Dr Adus Salam. I was determined to become like them, for which my teacher Master Akhtar and my father motivated me a great deal. However, I was directionless until my Intermediate. Then one day, a friend of mine was applying for GIKI’s entry test and asked me to take the test as well. I not only got in but secured a scholarship as well. That’s where I perused my Masters and then I just kept on moving further in the field.
Q: How do you plan on giving back to your hometown?
Yarjan: I’m very much connected to Turbat through the university over there. In fact, I invited one of the professors to Cambridge for a month and now we’re making him take the Teaching Associate Programme there, which is spread over a span of 1-2 years. Once he completes his research and return to Balochistan, he will disseminate similar quality education to the students and teachers over there. In Buleda, I’m planning on opening a school which will be community funded and different from rest of the schools since I believe in promoting problem based learning, rather than rote learning and simply pumping knowledge into students which is actually more of a business than education.