1. What made you want to be a chemist?
I always wanted to be a chemist. As a child I loved playing with my chemistry set and was always looking for supplies and reagents to run new experiments.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
I love to write. If I had the time I would love to try my hand at writing fiction.
3. How can chemists best contribute to the world at large?
We have already made very important contributions, although most people are unaware of them. In the next few decades, chemists must play an important role at solving the energy problems that we will face as we run out of oil. We should also learn to publicize our efforts and success stories more effectively.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
I have always been very intrigued by Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who could have changed history in unforeseen ways as he came very close to defeating Rome. But I am not sure that he would be a good dinner guest! I would also love to meet Santiago Ramon y Cajal, the first Spaniard Nobel Laureate in a scientific discipline. His impact in neuroscience has been very pronounced and he did all his research work without any support at all.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
Just a few days ago I was helping in my own lab, testing a new design for a spectroelectrochemical cell. Unfortunately, I have little time to work in my own lab. About seven years ago, I did a lot of scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) experiments during my last sabbatical, in Al Bard’s lab, at UT-Austin.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one CD would you take with you?
This is an impossible question to answer. OK, I would take “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
Angel Kaifer is in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Miami and works on the electrochemistry of supramolecular systems.