Dr Jasbir Singh Lota was nominated to receive the Distinguished Service Award by the Construction Materials Group, in gratitude for his work on behalf of the Group and his activities as liaison with the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining and the RSC. His academic/industrial background has been invaluable. As well as being the instigator of ordinary meetings, he has been an organiser of the series of Young Researchers' Forums (ultimately leading to the establishment of the Group's Joseph Bazalgette Award).
Dr Lota joined the Society 22 years ago, and has since been a member of the Construction Materials Group. He has held various offices in the Construction Materials Committee: he first became Group Vice-Chairman, then progressed to Chairman and since 2006 has served as Education Liaison Officer. He has organised visits to construction materials plants and historical buildings, the latter with an emphasis on the construction materials and techniques used.
After graduating from the Polytechnic of North London in 1987 with BSc Honours in Chemistry, he completed his doctorate in 1993, under the supervision of Prof Peter Pratt and Prof John Bensted at Imperial College London. There he worked on low-temperature oil well cement hydration chemistry, which involved innovative research work at the BP Research Centre. Afterwards, he went on to conduct post-doctoral research at Keele University, as well as the University of Dundee.
Dr Lota has taught chemistry at secondary school level for the last ten years, often inviting his A-level students from Parmiter's School to relevant London Group meetings on topical scientific subjects to promote science in general. He is an enthusiastic teacher, whose innovative teaching style and scientific experiences are encouraging students to take an interest in science and engineering.
He recently won funding for setting up a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Club at Parmiter's School (one of only 250 UK schools to obtain this funding).
It is quite unusual for a school teacher to participate in international conferences on cement-related subjects, but Dr Lota feels strongly that the profession of teaching is enhanced by teachers being able to participate in cutting-edge science.
He is author or co-author of some 30 published papers on construction materials, including presentations at the International Congresses on the Chemistry of Cements at New Delhi (1992), Gothenburg (1997) and more recently, Montreal (2007).
The SCI Awards Committee selected Dr Jasbir Lota as one of two recipients of the Distinguished Service Award presented at SCI's Annual General Meeting on 7 July 2010.