...In the lab, I cannot reliably hold anything with my left hand alone. My first research experience was in a synthesis lab working on moisture-sensitive cycloproparene chemistry. Looking back, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t work in such a physically challenging field. I would set up my hood with many clamps or anything else I could use to hold or stabilize glassware. Using syringes with pyrophoric reagents was challenging, so I learned to use a cannula whenever possible to transfer liquids.
I was fortunate that the research for my doctorate was interdisciplinary in nature. It involved not only organic synthesis but also electrochemical polymerization and characterization, as well as simple photovoltaic device fabrication. It allowed me to learn new areas of chemistry where the lab work suited me a little more than lab work involved in pure synthesis, which required more stability in my handling of equipment.
My chemistry career started out in organic synthesis and now continues years later in formulation science, where I have worked on many challenging and interesting projects in the microelectronics industry. Although there have been times when my physical challenges have made lab work difficult, I have persevered, motivated by the fact that research stems from the need to learn, understand, adapt, and move forward with the results, whether or not they are what we expected.Impressive. Read them all and be inspired!