Tackling life's big challenges through the chemical sciences
Prof. Susan Perkin
Power UP! Challenge Team Member
…impact on several fields ranging from energy storage in batteries to interactions within cells. We study concentrated electrolytes, which are fluids containing a large fraction of ions. Electrolytes are very common substances, for example, the sea and most living systems are essentially electrolytes, and so our fundamental research has many directions of influence.
…this is hard because I have so many. Right now my hero is Sarah Gilbert of the Oxford Jenner Institute, for her extraordinary calm, professionalism and vision under pressure to develop the vaccine against COVID-19. I enjoy learning about the lives and paths of scientists, and have many heroes among them. But it’s also worth keeping in mind that science is a collective effort across generations, and most scientists are just team players, quite ordinary people, doing their bit.
….anything involving spending time with my family and close friends. If it can be outdoors then all the better. I am very protective of this!
...I really like unpicking the reasons for things. I like patterns and theories a lot, too, and I almost went to study Maths instead. But I’m glad I chose the path I did because chemistry gets more and more interesting the more you look into it.
….the people I am lucky enough to interact with. There are so many interesting and smart students and colleagues around me, and I continually remark to myself how fortunate I am to have the chance to talk with them all. There are lots of other great parts: I love the freedom that academic science brings, to work on whatever I think is most interesting and important. I also enjoy the challenge of understanding a complex idea then translating that into clear narrative so that other people can follow the thinking.
….have a bit more reading time.
…..lots of things that I can’t write here! However I’m pretty sure my 13-year old self wouldn’t have listened to any advice, and I’ve never much liked giving or receiving advice. But if I had to offer some: stay true to your interests.
A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, and Music
An MChem in Chemistry at the University of Oxford
A DPhil in Physical Chemistry at the University of Oxford
A Research Fellowship at University College London