I use X-rays to look at atoms and molecules in a powder, and to study how their structure changes when we heat, cool or squeeze the powdered sample. This is fascinating because it allows us to recreate conditions in the earth’s crust or replicate the formation of space dust and to understand how these processes happen.
3. Who is your scientific hero and why?
Ernest Rutherford: he won the Nobel Prize in 1908 for his chemistry on radioactive substances. He was the first to theorise that an atom’s charge is concentrated in a very small nucleus. This was a fundamental discovery at the time, and it made everyone think differently about the structure of atoms.
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