Principal Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Country of birth: USA
Country of residence: USA
Educational background: PhD in chemical physics, Harvard Univ.
A typical work day.
When I fi rst began working at NREL, I spent most of my days in the lab working with a team to fabricate record-effi ciency solar cells (effi ciencies of ~40%). More recently, I am doing more supervisory work. The fun part of this is that I can infl uence the work of many people, helping them to design their experiments more thoughtfully, then see the fruits of those experimental designs weeks later.
What I enjoy most.
Setting world-record solar-cell effi ciencies has been really fun. Also, when receiving the Dan David Prize at the Paris Opera House, my 14-year-old daughter went with me. She is a fan of the Phantom of the Opera, so after the award ceremony, we received the special, backstage tour of the Paris Opera House (but we didn't fi nd the opera ghost, we just saw where the lake is under the Opera House).
Words of wisdom.
Doing problem sets for a chemistry class doesn't have the same excitement as doing data analysis of real data in the lab. Internships can help you gain experience and make a better career choice.