Nariman Kaiyrbekov

Specialization: scientific chemistry. Internship: Mahatma Gandhi University, India.

Nariman is 21, he is studying chemistry at the National Scientific Laboratory of the Amanzholov East Kazakhstan University in Ust-Kamenogorsk. A year ago, he won a research internship in the competition of the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation and in the summer of 2022 he did his research at one of the famous universities in India. Why there? How did he win the competition and how was the internship? A man who loves to sing, read scientific articles and listen to Kazakhstani podcasts and who dreams of a Nobel Prize, will tell us about it himself.

As a child, I liked to disassemble things, toys, appliances, to see what was inside and how it worked. I even had to break it more than once. When it came to the last detail, there were always questions: what’s next, what’s inside, what does it consist of? I was able to find the answers thanks to chemistry.

Participation in the competition
I began to notice that I lacked practical and theoretical experience. One of the solutions was to take an internship and learn from professors. In search of opportunities, I found information about the competition of the Yessenov Foundation. I liked the way the competition was organized and the criteria that were presented to the participants. The competition itself is aimed at ensuring that its winners can realize themselves even after the internship and ensuring the sustainability of their development.

Choosing an Indian University
The main reason was the opportunity to work personally with Dr. Sabu Thomas. He is a professor in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the School of Chemical Sciences, and a founding director of the International Center for Nanotechnology. I was well acquainted with his works, since I am conducting research in the same field, and I simply could not help but take this chance.

I worked in the laboratory at the International and Inter University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Gandhi University in Kerala. The main research was the study of the processes of formation of complexes of silver, copper and boron ions with derivatives of succinic acid. These materials are widely used as catalysts, for gas storage, in optical devices, and also as fertilizers in the agro-industrial complex. I have also worked with metal nanoparticles. I was engaged in obtaining biofilms with them, and studied their antibacterial properties. Thanks to the latter, it is possible, for example, to increase the shelf life of food.

I obtained derivatives of succinic acid, as well as complex compounds based on derivatives of succinic acid with copper, silver and boron ions. Studied their physical and chemical properties. Mastered the methods of synthesis of nanoparticles of silver, copper and other metals. But besides this, there were other achievements, rather discoveries. In our research group, honesty, hard work were valued, the opinions of everyone were respected, regardless of religious beliefs, nationality and scientific status. Everyone was ready to help. My colleagues used to say: “Work is a tool to change the world.” This is what I took with me to Kazakhstan and I will try to apply it in my work here. I am glad that I could become a part of such an amazing project – the Yessenov Foundation research internship program.

Free time
It was not enough, but I managed to participate in a conference on modern catalysis, energy and sustainable development. I listened to the professors, learned about the outcomes of their research. I made new friends during my internship. In this contrasting multicultural country, everything was new for me, I felt like I was on another planet. India is very friendly and hospitable country, I was invited to family holidays with Indian colleagues. Even the weather has been kind to me, although summer is the rainy season there. I visited beautiful places with my friends: Wellington Island and the backwaters of Kerala, the Kovalam lighthouse and the city of Trivandrum, the Padmanabhaswamy temple and Alappuzha beach, felt the breeze of the Indian Ocean, but managed to swim only once.

Life hacks
Before you climb a mountain, you need to clearly define your goal – the top. Choose where you want to do an internship, what you can learn there and what results you will get after. The most important thing is that the scope of research coincides with yours. If you believe in yourself and do not give up, everything will work out. But there should also be a plan B. And about the “pitfalls” … the food in India is very spicy, it can’t even be described in words, and people don’t eat meat, but you get used to it.

I am going to continue my research in the field of composite materials and natural polymers, publish a couple of scientific articles. Later I plan to enter the master’s and doctoral studies abroad. And I don’t think it’s far from the Nobel Prize either.

20.11.22, Stories

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