I have fun all the time (laughs). The most fun, actually, as a scientist is being in the lab and watching data in real time. I think the most rewarding thing about my job is T teach a lot at the freshman level, and there’s nothing more rewarding than teaching…. giving a great lecture.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I didn’t want to be a physician, I wanted to be a scientist, because I really fell in love with molecules and then….. going back to good imagination I’m really good at picturing… what a molecule is… just visualizing it. Like, I actually have no sense of direction out on the street, because I don’t think in that length of scale, it doesn’t interest me. I’m always thinking in small length scales, you know.
My work started with understanding how a seashell grows, and seashells are really strange, and everyone agrees they’re very strange, talking about how they’re this composite of both inorganic materials like salt or chalk, and then squishy protein materials like hair, and how you get from mixing those two together to have this incredibly exquisite structure.
One aspect is that we try to work with environmentally benign approaches to material synthesis. And so, how nature has evolved to use its environment, and not use it up, to not put toxins and poisons in its environment. And that’s what we’re trying to learn to do as well. But for materials that you can use in your computer chip or your MP3 player, you know, how would you do that, and in a way that is environmentally friendly.