Priyanka Das Rajkakati is a Ph.D. in Aerospace engineering, who dedicates her time to exploring the grey region between art and science - with as backdrop, the fascinating domain of space research. Indeed, her childhood ambition was to pursue three passions in one lifetime: Science, Art & Space. She has won numerous awards and recognitions, most recently a place in the Forbes India 30 under 30 (2021) list, under the category "Science and Innovation".
Born in the Himalayan mountains, Priyanka grew up in the hustle and bustle of New Delhi and moved to France at age 21, to discover new cultures, learn new languages and explore diverse domains. Through years spent experimenting with various scientific fields, including pursuing a PhD in Aerospace engineering, she realised that she kept repeatedly gravitating towards the artistic aspect of the subject at hand. For example: bioluminescent bacteria and their patterns in Biology; algorithmic art in Computer Science; and, during her PhD research on satellite navigation, the fascinating patterns made by signals and accumulated noise. Clearly, Science and Art are not disjoint entities but simply different viewpoints on experiencing Nature and the Cosmos.
Quite affected by the current state of humanity through her own experiences, Priyanka is also actively involved in STEM and art outreach activities, with a focus on promoting science amongst girls: as ambassador of the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Girls in Science initiative, as member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), as expert to the IAF Technical Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) and through collaborations with the EuroMoonMars initiative. Finally, as part of the 5th cohort of the Homeward Bound initiative for women in science, she will also be taking part in a trip to Antarctica in 2021.