Reactions – Banglin Chen

Mar 26, 2019
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Banglin Chen is in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at San Antonio, and works on porous metal-organic framework materials for gas storage, separation, sensing and heterogeneous catalysis.

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

I was greatly motivated by my high school chemistry teacher Yang Zhicai who was very enthusiastic and had a deep understanding of chemistry. I started wondering of how I could develop useful chemicals/materials some day because of my fascination with the magical power of chemistry and its ability to produce infinite numbers of new chemicals from simple raw materials.

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

When I was in College, I wanted to be a politician who might help poor people. If I were not a chemist, I would surely be a Christian Preacher.

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

Now we are exploring new materials for gas storage and separation (H2, CH4, CO2, C2H2, C2H4 etc), and heterogeneous catalysis. I hope that we can discover one or two practically useful materials, not only just develop science.

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

Alfred Werner. I want to know how imaginative he was. I wonder if he forsaw the significant impact of coordination chemistry on the modern chemistry.

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

About three years ago to synthesize a lovely chiral mixed-metal-organic framework, although I enjoy checking crystals with my postdocs/students almost everyday.

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

I would bring my Bible and Hymns of Life with me. Being a Christian is the most important and meaningful thing in my life.

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

Michael O’Keeffe. One of the very few scientists I have ever known who dedicates himself to science.


Anne Pichon

Senior Editor, Nature Chemistry, Springer Nature

Anne received a broad training in chemistry at the National Graduate School of Chemistry in Montpellier, France. She then focused on inorganic and supramolecular chemistry and obtained her MPhil and PhD degrees from the Queen's University Belfast, UK, investigating porous coordination polymers for host–guest applications. After an internship with Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Anne moved to John Wiley and Sons in 2007 as an assistant editor of the Society of Chemical Industry journals. She joined Nature Chemistry in October 2008, and was initially based in Tokyo where she also worked on other publishing projects with Nature Asia-Pacific. In April 2013, Anne relocated to the London office and now works full time on the journal.

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