28 August, 2017
MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator and Professor at University of Auckland
I was the only girl alongside 299 boys in the under-15 baseball league and I played second base for the championship team.
My entire scientific career is based on a bet over a pitcher of beer. (I bet that I would be able to measure the molecular scale heat in haemoglobin, and my advisor said it couldn’t be done. I did manage to, and this set me off in the direction my career has taken.)
When I was a student I set a stir-plate on fire in a synthetic chemistry lab. I also burned an entire laser to melted solder, and all the solder dripped out of the screw holes in the bottom, into puddles on the table.
A chance conversation with an investor from the dairy industry. Back in 2010, at a business function, an investor outlined to me the problems facing the dairy industry. I headed straight back to the lab and challenged students to come up with solutions within 24 hours. One of the students’ ideas involved using lasers to generate a force, a concept that became key to the technology behind the start-up company.
I want to help our young scientists to spin-out their own companies - create their own jobs so they can leave the university. One of our most important products is our students - giving them a path into business.