1. What made you want to be a chemist?
It just happened without me even realizing it. I was keen on science in general as a teenager, with a particular interest in biology. As an undergraduate student, I slowly moved towards chemistry and here I am now.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
If I had the talent, I would have loved to be a professional comedian. When I am not in lab, you can most definitely find me involved in improvisational theatre, either acting or watching. This is the best way to escape and find oneself again.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
We are working on the sequential construction of crystalline heterometallic architectures using differentiated ligand bearing several coordination poles. The goal is to take advantage of the heterometallic nature of these materials and to modulate their properties by playing with the different metal centers involved.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Nicéphore Niépce, one of the inventors of photography. It must have been an exhilarating experience to see the first photograph appear. It might also have something to do with my passion for silver salts.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
Today. I synthesized a dipyrrin. Being in the lab is a great and productive way to not sit at my desk. Working on the computer does not bring much thrill, except when writing a paper.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
I would either bring Dave Egger’s A heartbreaking work of staggering genius, to remind me of my time in California, or Michel Houellebecq’s La carte et le territoire to remind me of France.
For the music album, it would be a tough choice between Santigold’s Santogold, Goldfrapp’s Seventh tree and Benjamin Biolay’s La superbe.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
Prof. Mircea Dinca, a very talented chemist and good friend, whose views should be interesting to hear.