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Sophia Hayes

Associate Professor, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Sophia Hayes

Country of Birth: Cyprus
Country of Residence: Cyprus
Educational Background: PhD, Physical Chemistry, University of Washington, USA

 

I was always interested in environmental issues, such as the greenhouse effect and the ozone hole, and was always trying to find ways in which I could help. Reading all about Greenpeace was very inspiring. I wanted to study something related, but was always advised to study the fundamentals first and then I could always do the fun stuff later, which I think was good advice. I used ultrafast spectroscopy to learn about the reactions of a stratospherically important molecule, chlorine dioxide, which can contribute to ozone depletion, satisfying my thirst to actively contribute to the knowledge base necessary to take action. This interest in the environment has now transformed to studying organic materials that can make efficient solar cells.

At the University of Cyprus I teach Quantum Mechanics, Molecular Spectroscopy and Vibrational Spectroscopy. The main tool of my research group is Resonance Raman Spectroscopy, a method that essentially watches the molecules shake in a very distinctive way that is specific to each one. This technique lets us learn about the structure of molecules and how it is affected under various conditions, either extraneous, such as heat, or in the presence of other molecules with which they interact.

Combining a career and family is definitely a big challenge; however, time management makes a big difference.

I feel that in order to succeed it is very important to believe in yourself no matter whether you are a woman or a man. Do not to be afraid to ask questions however silly they might seem. Little questions lead later to larger quests for knowledge. It's a matter of practice!

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