U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
Background: I've conducted research on the origins of life in New York, Stockholm, and Tokyo and nanoparticle toxicity in Copenhagen. Now I'm facilitating international science cooperation at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science headquarters in Washington, D.C. as a AAAS S&T Policy Fellow. Even though the transition from laboratory researcher to government employee drastically changed my day-to-day activities, I've used my experiences as an internationally active researcher and motivation to help facilitate international cooperation in my current position.
Question 1: Share a comment or opinion you have on a topical science-related issue.
Answer: I think it's interesting how people calculate risks. The current nuclear incident in Japan is an example that's getting a lot of attention, but for most people, here in the U.S. and abroad, the greatest dangers are far more mundane. These days, I try to eat well, get exercise, and take extra precautions when riding my bike and crossing streets.
Question 2: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: There's something inherently pleasing about baking your own bread. For the past few years, I haven't purchased a loaf of bread in a store because it's just too much fun experimenting with sour dough cultures, different grains, fermentation duration and temperature, and mixing and baking techniques. The numerous parameters provide endless opportunities to experiment and see what works and tastes great!
Question 3: What's your favorite food? Got a sweet tooth? Caffeine junkie? Tell us about it!
Answer: Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and then tried to make the same food at home? I really enjoy doing that -- especially with tricky foods like Indian, Thai, or Chinese. I also enjoy exploring the many strange and new ingredients in ethnic supermarkets.
Question 4: What's playing on your iPod/music player?
Answer: The Stuff You Should Know podcast is great for learning about various topics while riding on the metro or walking around town. I recently learned that humans and animals tickle to reinforce social bonds, that our sour-sensitive taste buds can detect dissolved CO2, and that an octopus has three hearts.
Question 5: Share a web link that really excites you and tell us why.
Answer: I recently found an architectural firm's website that has some really innovative and inspiring projects (www.big.dk). I saw a few of their impressive buildings in Copenhagen. I particularly like their ideas regarding coupling energy systems. For example, the architects would like to couple supermarket refrigerator-generated excess heat with the heating of an energy-intensive application such as the warming of a swimming pool.
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