Abraham Mendoza is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry at Stockholm University, and works on scalable and automatic synthetic methods involving C–H functionalization and main-group organometallics towards natural and artificial molecules.
1. What made you want to be a chemist?
When I was pursuing my International Baccalaureate in high-school, I chose chemistry for my final project. I was given the keys to the lab during holidays to do some experiments and I guess that the feeling of freedom in a lab was too captivating for a teenager.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be — and why?
I think I would have loved being a program developer or a digital freelancer of some sort… creativity and computers!
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
We are developing new synthetic reactions with common organometallic nucleophiles to enable abbreviated syntheses of useful molecules. Lately, we have been quite busy applying a natural product total synthesis mindset to artificial molecules, like ligands. We hope that our research will enable explorations in tailored ligand design that are unthinkable now.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with — and why?
I’d be thrilled to share table with the double Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling (Peace and Chemistry!). I guess that an amazing scientist with such a social commitment would be just too good of company.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab — and what was it?
It was some weeks ago — I acquired and solved the structure of a single crystal. I happen to have recently turned into a crystallography aficionado…
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
Probably, I wouldn’t read or listen to music on a desert island… diving all day long sounds better to me!
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions — and why?
Prof. K. Barry Sharpless. I’d love to read the answers of the true genius.