Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Joining both an organic lab (an O-chem lab) and a materials science lab as a joint graduate student was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I've had to dive out of my comfort zone into something I'm not really that familiar with.

In undergraduate, I majored in both chemistry and physics. In graduate school, this would put me in the very distinct category of "P-chemist." (I prefer the term "Chemicist" from "Chemist" and "Physicist") On a lot of my visit weekends to other schools I wasn't really invited to speak to non-P chem professors. Not a lot of the materials professors really knew what to do with me either.

I love polymers.

P-chem has a strange reputation for it's followers never touching molecules. I always wanted to touch them, I just never wanted to MAKE them. Somehow between budget issues and a strange amount of respect from one of my advisers I ended up as a joint student. I've been dragged out of my physicist shell into memorizing things and learning the different kinds of glassware and doing things that are decidedly qualitative rather than quantitative.

I get a lot of strange looks when I tell people I work for my o-chem adviser. They wonder what a p-chemist is doing in a synthetic lab. I just know that P is for polymer.