Naomi Halas

Naomi Halas in 2005 Women in Optics planner

Naomi Halas

Dr. Naomi Halas
Stanley C. Moore Professor of
Electrical and Computer Engineering
and Professor of Chemistry,
Rice University, USA

Who or what inspired your career choice? My career choice was inspired by my curiosity about the world around me.

What is exciting about your work? The most exciting thing about research is the element of surprise. Just when you think you understand something you are humbled by Mother Nature and your experiment doesn't yield the result you thought it would. But through experiences such as those, big discoveries are made. Developing something that no one has done before, or that nobody has thought of before, is truly exhilarating. In our own work, using chemical methods for fabricating new nanoparticles with tailored optical properties, involves both the goal-oriented mindset of the engineer and the curiosity-driven mindset of the scientist. And it is a field with lots of interesting surprises!

Knowing what you know now, what educational route would you recommend for aspiring optical scientist? It has been a great advantage in my education to have a broad multidisciplinary background. One should never be timid about learning a new area or field. It is amazing how your mind tends to use the things you have learned in unusual and unexpected combinations and ways. When I was younger I thought my training in multiple fields was a liability, in time I learned that it was a true asset.