This year, 2023, marks the half-way point to the 2030 deadline for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recent global developments, including conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic, make SDGs such as “Zero Hunger” and “Reduced Inequalities” seem more daunting than ever. The scale of the challenge is clear; but professionals working on the frontline of sustainable development are as committed as ever to enabling positive change.
That includes physicists and engineers, and July 2022–July 2023 was the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. In this episode of the Physics World Stories podcast you will hear from with two physical scientists whose careers enable them to apply their scientific knowledge to tackling inequities. As always, the episode is hosted by Andrew Glester.
Ruhi Chitre is an intern at UNESCO, Paris, who was previously president of the International Association of Physics Students. Chitre believes that international policymaking can be strengthened by the contribution of more people with backgrounds in fundamental science, not least because they have a nuanced understanding of the concept of risk.
Later in the episode, you will hear from Destenie Nock, a civil & environmental engineer at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Nock’s research includes looking for patterns in energy usage that can reveal local inequalities, such as correlations between household incomes and use of heating in winter. In her teaching, Nock encourages her students to take engineering back to its fundamental purpose – to think about how innovation can improve livelihoods.
Nock is among the invited speakers at Environmental Research 2023, a series of free-to-attend virtual events 16 October–23 November hosted by IOP Publishing (which published Physics World).