Reactions: Muralee Murugesu


Muralee Murugesu is in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa, and works on lanthanide nanoscale magnets in the field of molecular magnetic materials.

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

I like to make things with my hands; I realized that I could make new molecules crystallize, study and understand them. That is what made me become a chemist.

2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?

I always said to myself if my chemistry career fails then I would go to an island start a bicycle shop near a beach and repair bicycles for people. Island lifestyle! That would be a change for sure.

3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?

I am working on molecular magnetic materials, more specifically lanthanide Single-Molecule Magnets. I hope it will lead to practical application of these molecules in technologies such as hard disk and/or quantum computers.

4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?

Gandhi, I would like to know how he was able to achieve great things for the human society in a peaceful way.

5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?

A little over a year ago, I wanted to crystallize a difficult compound. I wish I could spend more time working in the lab.

6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?

There are so many books I would like to read but if I have to choose one then it would be “Le Rouge et le Noir” by Stendhal in French. For music probably Thriller form Jackson, to bring back my early teenage years.

7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?

Naoto Ishikawa, who has done some beautiful work on lanthanide phthalocyanine-based magnets. I would like to read his perspective evoked in these few questions.