Rice University on August, 2009. He has published many journal articles on reputed journals in his repute and are highlighted by many scientific media. He is the recipient of The Norman Hackerman fellowship in Chemistry by Chemistry department Rice University in 2009 and 2009 MRS Spring meeting Graduate student Gold award. As the number of Nepalese chemists coming to the US as graduate students is increasing and as a result number of Nepalese Chemistry PhD graduates is also increasing. Dr. Khanal represents many of the successful Nepalese Chemists. In an effort to recognize Nepalese Scientists around the globe NepaChem has initiated to put their experiences and thoughts by which we hope will benefit Science and science students in Nepal. NepaChem presents talk between NepaChem and Dr. Khanal.
NepaChem: First of all congratulations for the successful completion of your doctorate degree. And welcome to NepaChem.
Dr. Khanal: Thank you very much Basant. I appreciate your warm words. It has been always a pleasure to be a part of NepaChem since you have started it.
NepaChem: How do you feel now? What is the difference between Bishnu Khanal and Dr. Bishnu Khanal? Tracking back: starting from a rural village from Nepal to one of the top research institutes in the US.
Dr. Khanal: Honestly, I am not feeling any big difference between Bishnu and Dr. Khanal. I think it is a part of the journey of life. I completed this part of journey successfully and I am happy about it.
As you mentioned, it was a privilege working in Rice University which is among the top research institutes in the USA. I feel very lucky that I had an opportunity to pursue my graduate study in such a reputed institution. I am grateful to Rice, my adviser Dr. Eugene Zubarev and my master’s degree adviser Dr. Mohan Bikram Gewali for all their support and encouragement. Growing up in a rural village of Nepal was never been a big issue. I learned a lot from the people out there. Especially my high school teachers Bijay Mishra and Shambhu Gautam have been a great source of inspiration.
NepaChem: We heard that you have job (postdoc) lined up for you. How difficult was it to find job in the US especially in this bad economy?
Dr. Khanal: Finding a good job is always a difficult task. Fortunately, I did not have to struggle much and got a job easily.
NepaChem: You have discovered a polymer-coated version of gold-platinum nanorods, the first catalysts of their kind that can be used in the organic solvents favored by chemical and drug manufacturers. This has possible broad industrial application. Could you tell our readers about your research work? And, what do you think what contribution you have given to the science?
Dr. Khanal: My graduate research work was mainly focused on the synthesis, structural manipulation, surface modification and self-assembly of gold nanostructures. During my graduate study, I mainly worked on the development of different methods for the synthesis of nanostructures. Among them one project was the synthesis and surface functionalization of bi-and tri-metallic nanorods. We found a method for the deposition of platinum on gold nanorods which results in the formation of core-shell platinum on gold nanorods. The surface functionalization technique which I developed in Zubarev’s group allowed us to synthesize polymer-coated version of platinum-on-gold nanorods. We studied the catalytic properties of these noble nanostructures in organic solvents and found that they are very good catalyst for several organic reactions which has a potential application in the drug manufactures.
NepaChem: Generally achievement in scientific research work is measured by journal articles you author. You have authored three and co-authored several journal articles during your four year graduate study. Most of them are published on high impact factor journals and are *hot paper*, *cover article* etc. How was this success possible?
Dr. Khanal: The answer to this question could be keep working hard and never give up. Think all the possibilities, try to understand what is going on in a reaction, try to find possible mistakes and correct them.
NepaChem: What do you suggest prospective and current graduate students to achieve successful graduate study? Tell us 5 ‘sutra’ or ‘mantra’ of success.
Dr. Khanal: First of all understand your potential, work hard, be honest, be optimistic, respect other people and their work.
NepaChem: Selection of adviser and research area is critical and very important for new students particularly for international students coming from countries like Nepal. What are your experiences?
Dr. Khanal: Selection of adviser and research area are the most important factors for the success of graduate study. It totally depends on the student. According to me, the selection of adviser and research area should be chosen according to student’s personal interest.
NepaChem: Anything you want to tell to the students who want to come to the US for graduate studies?
Dr. Khanal: Get yourself prepared to work really hard.
NepaChem: At last, how do see the future of scientific research in Nepal. As being a Nepalese citizen, do you have anything to say?
Dr. Khanal: A lot of scientific research is going on in Nepal. Despite the fact that there are limited resources, investment and instruments, I really appreciate the research accomplished by researcher in Nepal. I am satisfied with the research I have done during my Master’s in Tribhuvan Univesity. I am quite optimistic that one day we will have a stable government which will start investing on science.
NepaChem: Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.
Dr. Khanal: It is my pleasure, thank you very much.