Bringing Chemistry to Life

On solid state materials, electrochemistry and the importance of roots

Episode Summary

We close season 3 with a charismatic and stimulating guest. Jesus Velasquez is a charming and talented materials scientist with deep roots to his motherland of Puerto Rico. Our conversation spans from his work with nanostructured solid materials that have potential to help address environmental issues, to his community outreach and commitment to give back, in every way he can.

Episode Notes

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Some people have an aura, which is something difficult to describe; some define it charisma, others call it charm. These are people you want to spend time with, because they make you feel good and always have something interesting to say. Jesus Velasquez is one of these people. A talented materials scientist, deeply attached to his motherland of Puerto Rico, and determined to give back what he feels life has given him.

Jesus’ science is as generous as he is and brings disruptive potential with it. He studies nanostructured solid materials, particularly the so-called chalcogenides (metal complexes containing group 8 elements) and Chevrel phases (MxMo6S8). These materials can be used for a variety of applications, the most promising being electrochemical reactions. Splitting water to generate hydrogen gas, or reducing carbon dioxide to methanol, are among these applications.

This is a scientifically stimulating, and yet warming conversation. We span from solid phase material synthesis and characterization to coaching and mentoring young talent from underrepresented communities. A great way to close season 3!

Episode Transcription



Dr. Jesús Velázquez  00:06

You have this opportunity to, you know, with time build a breadth of, of trainees that will potentially be doing, you know, what I'm doing or better.


Paolo  00:17

Jesús Velázquez grew up in Puerto Rico, where the environmental threats of climate change were already front of mind. He still thinks about those things, though now, as a leading researcher in material science and electrochemical catalysis, he's a big part of fighting that. In this season three episode of Bringing Chemistry to Life, we speak with another member of Chemical and Engineering News, 2021 Talented 12, about their work and trends in their field. I'm your host, Paolo Braiuca, from Thermo Fisher Scientific. We began by asking Dr. Velázquez about the early experience on his career path as a scientist.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  01:03

If I had to pick one program, it would have to be the math and science Upward Bound program. And this program, back in the days, gave a 15-year-old like me an opportunity to experience research at a university, in the university, at a university at the U.S. So they the program is specifically focused on first generation low-income underrepresented students in STEM that come from New York City, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. For 10 weeks, they gave us the opportunity to experience what college life is all about, it's there where I got exposed to the world of environmental research for the first time, actually. You know, we, we used to go to creeks and use the population of microinvertebrates to establish water quality. It was my, like my first realization, like I could physically understand, you know, that, that things are perhaps contaminated. And in terms of, you know, natural ecosystems and whatnot. And then I connected that, throughout my professional career connected that to some of the challenges that I faced in Puerto Rico with hurricanes and access to clean water, and energy and all that good stuff. So,


Paolo  02:20

I can actually do something about it. Right?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  02:23

Exactly. And then fast forwarding to a career, starting with a PhD in University of Buffalo. That's where I met, you know, Professor Sarabjit Banerjee, where he was a first-year Professor starting a brand-new laboratory. And here I come with, you know, a little bit of experience on industry. Really falling in love with the fact that he the topic that Sarbajit really wanted to pursue was the design of nanomaterials for you know, for all sorts of energy applications. I did not know nothing about it, okay. Only thing I knew, Paolo, is that I remember seeing for the first time, an image from a scanning electron microscope, and, and seeing those beautiful little crystals, and knowing that I can manipulate that the actual geometry, I can manipulate the chemical makeup of these particles. Sarbajit just said, Yeah, I mean, this is what I was trained for. You could learn how to do this. And I said, okay, you got me. Where do I need to sign? But it was thanks to mentorship, like Sarbajit, with a lot of patience and dedication to build me from the ground up is what ignited now, the opportunity to then go to Caltech and actually do a brand-new lab as well, again, that right there, that was even a bigger opportunity for me to to bring in even more mentors. Science is just figuring out ways. I want to say that it's also been because of the  U.S. - Puerto Rico connections, right. Now we're in this position where a lot of the students, a lot of the undergraduates who have come to the U.S. to pursue graduate school, or high school students who have pursued undergraduates and have gone to the academic journey or just scientific journey. Now they have positions, like me, in universities and, right, so it's become this distribution of knowledge that it's all over the U.S. Which is positive in a sense, because we can figure out ways and how to support and further encourage what we would like for it to happen in Puerto Rico. But then there is also a little bit of a challenge, right, because a lot of the knowledge it's has moved away from the island. But I see it as an opportunity. And not only myself, a lot of my colleagues from Puerto Rico who are in academic positions or in industry positions, they, you know, we've figured out ways on how to just establish a network and really have everlasting support to the efforts that are happening on the island of Puerto Rico,


Paolo  05:21

The way you speak about this, like, it seems like you feel the need to give back.  So do you feel spoiled where you are at the moment compared to where you come from?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  05:30

Yeah. A lot, you know. But and then I catch myself sometimes, you know, making comments where I'm like, wait a second, just remember where you came from for a minute, right? I mean, you have, you've had a great opportunity to, you know, to sort of maneuver your way across a couple of challenges. And now you're here, just so you know, I have to sometimes always try to reconnect with that, right? Because it gives me, it allows me to have a well-defined purpose. And it's just fire that sometimes one needs, considering all the challenges that one faces, right. When I began my career as an independent scientist, and, you know, as a academic advisor, I felt like, Okay, this should be pretty straightforward to understand, right? I mean, these are the sort of the, these are the dots that you have to connect, and if I just convey it, it will be processed instantly. And it's gonna be straightforward. But no, and that's okay. Right. I like to tell myself, sometimes students or folks in our community will be ready to receive the information that you are providing, sometimes they won't. And and I should just make try to maintain aconscience of that.


Paolo  06:59

Makes perfect sense. How do you structure your, you know, social involvement? And then this this work you're trying to do? Is it? Is it more of a personal initiative? Do you leverage any sort of structures, organizations and try and do it? How does it work? Where would you get the funding because I'm assuming you also need that type, that type of support.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  07:19

Yeah, so it has to definitely tie in with. It so happens that I have the privilege of being a professor and in an R1 institution that cares about research, cares about teaching, cares about broader impact. And not only the, from an institution level, but funding agencies, you know, across the U.S. also have all sorts of initiatives and opportunities for one to be able, you know, to provide ideas on the matter. So I have to basically align. So just to give you an example, we have a summer undergraduate research experience over the summers that is funded by the National Science Foundation, right? One of the missions of that program, is to have broader participation of students in STEM, right? The you know, what emphasis and figuring out ways and how to encourage participation of students from minority communities, or underrepresented communities. Because I've already gone through the path, I have a relationship with the University of Puerto Rico, one of the things that I do is I try to go to Puerto Rico at least once a year interview a couple of students, and every other summer, they will come to the university and do research, maybe for the first or second time. It might seem a little, you know, as I describe it, it's really not. It's really not,  right. Because the student comes in, gets exposed to research, often something ignites in terms of an idea, perhaps even that is the gateway for them to see a possibility of them being a scientist. Okay, then the next thing, you know, they're joining a graduate program. And now if we could do this every other year, or every year, if you look at the marathon and not the sprint, you have this opportunity to you know, with time, build a breadth of, of trainees that will potentially be doing you know, what I'm doing or better.


Paolo  09:29

I wish there were more people like you, you're not forgetting their root and, and investing time and effort. Because it takes time and effort to do it, right.  And courage, I would say.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  09:40

It's, that is, that is essentially one of the challenges, right, it does take time. But with a little bit of creativity, I feel like it could be done without jeopardizing scientific novelty, without impacting, you know, scientific output, what usually that is, you know, perhaps the concern or intimidation that you know, others may have, right. You just have to figure out a way to how to basically align the, you know, align the initiatives. And the next thing you know, you're doing it. Yes, the high impact factor papers are coming out, you're getting funded, students are getting trained, it can happen. And it's happening. It's not only in my, in my group, I just have so many examples.


Paolo  10:28

It's great. And it's lovely to see, it's probably time to get into it. Can you describe what you actually do and go into some of your scientific details? 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  10:37

Yeah. So, I mean, one of the things that we notice, specifically, when we were looking at what other levers of molecular control we could put together to synthesize solids, to perform specific electrochemical reactions, we noticed that for the past decades, we're either we have a very good understanding of molecular systems that could do that convert, you know that could allow us to perhaps split water into hydrogen, or even convert carbon dioxide to methanol. And we might have monometallic surfaces that could do that very well, things like copper, like silver, and gold. Now, one of the things that, because of all the breakthroughs with characterization, specifically, spectroscopy and microscopy. Now, if we compare now to perhaps a couple of decades ago, now we have the opportunity to monitor these dynamic processes. Meaning these electrochemical reactions, right. We have the ability to look at the interface between a solid and a liquid that is perhaps under an electric field and try to understand how the chemical makeup of that surface is changing, how the environment of that liquid electrolyte is impacting that environment. And if you take those, all these pieces together, that made me think and say, well, you know, we know we have solid catalysts and we have molecular catalysts. Is there an in between? You know, can we or not only that, can we have inspiration from what all the, you know, transitional metal complex community has been able to do in catalysis? Can we take inspiration of that, and try to encode that, those design principles into solid, crystalline extended structures? So, that leads us to us basically saying, well, what are some of the examples out there of metallic surfaces that have, metallic-solid surfaces, that, perhaps, when combined with something like sulfur or with oxygen, the local geometry and local chemical coordination is perhaps a little bit similar to what a molecular complex is, right. And that leads us to the world of metal organic frameworks, that lead us to the world of Chevrel Phases, right, which is a composition space that we've been exploring, you know, for the past couple of years through the development of our laboratory. Because when you look at them, it's essentially these little cluster units that are all within the extended solid structured shared through sulfur bonding, but you have the little cluster unit, right, which is, it's sort of analogous to perhaps, you know, cluster units that you see on single molecular complexes. So that's been the angle, the angle it's been, I think that we can definitely get inspiration from the molecular complexes in terms of being able to do selective electrochemistry, electrochemical reactions. And we can use some of the known and there's the need to establish new, perhaps nanochemistry synthetic pathways to manipulate some of these solid crystalline materials. It's really important that we do this because one of the major downfalls of solids in electric catalysis is that it's really hard to know what is the surface termination that you're actually exposing to the to the actual liquid electrolyte and you're trying to do 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  10:43

The reaction happens on the surface of the solid material, isn't it? And then it gives us it was in contact with the solution with the outer environment.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  14:51

Exactly. It that's one. But not only that, sometimes we struggle to know precisely as we're doing the electrochemical reaction, precisely what is that surface termination. But the beautiful thing, the beautiful opportunity is that because of advances in microscopy and spectroscopy, we perhaps now are in a position to have the spatial and the temporal resolution needed for us to be able to go out the interface and monitor in real environments, these electrochemical reactions.


Paolo  15:31

You know, the way I see it, from my perspective, you know, can go in multiple directions. You obviously have the understanding of the nanostructure of the material and how you can actually make them and alter them, then there's the synthetic, you know, methods to get them efficiently and reproducibly. Then there's the characterization aspect. And then there's the application, what can you or you can use this these things for? Are you running all these lines of research? Are they obviously they are all interconnected? Right? What is your main focus?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  16:06

When I talk with, you know, with students who are about to join the lab, I say, okay, we have three broad categories. So we have the synthesis aspect of our lab. We have the electroanalytical aspect of our lab. And then we have the spectroscopy aspect of our lab. Now, the synthesis aspect, just like you described, it allows us to impact composition, electronic structure, morphology, you know, have a say in what is the surface termination that we're exposing on these electrochemical reactions to the work that we're trying to do. Then that leads me to the electroanalytical side, where what we're doing is using electrochemistry, to have some initial understanding on perhaps some charge transfer properties that we're seeing of our materials as a function as, as a function of manipulating composition or electronic structure. Right. Now, you know, these are the type of data that we get is, you know, cyclic voltammograms, you know, how the current is changes the functional potential, I mean, it could obviously evolve way more than that. But the analytical part is we do this in synchrony with gas chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance. And what we're trying to do there is we're trying to monitor how we, as a function of potential and how we are perhaps, converting small molecules like carbon dioxide and in the splitting water, how we are impacting efficiencies and cell activity as a function of an electrochemical environment. So we could do that by looking at the head space of an electrochemical cell through gas chromatography, the liquid phase through NMR, and then essentially make calculations and determine what is, you know, how efficient are we doing this conversion process from carbon dioxide, for instance, right. And then the spectroscopy part, it's somewhat divided in two. There's the spectroscopy that we use to validate our synthetic successes or failures. 


Paolo  18:11

Sure, did I make what I wanted to make?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  18:13

Exactly, yeah. But then there's this spectroscopy, as I was describing earlier, that with a little bit of TLC, as I like to say tender loving care, we can monitor the electrochemical process.


Paolo  18:34

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Paolo  19:04

I know very little about how you make or where you control this type of material. Can you tell us, and I'm sure there's a number of different methods and examples, but for my benefit and the benefit of the audience, would you comment on some of the more important ones, maybe the ones that you'd like particular that you guys use? 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  19:20

Okay, I'm going to comment on one. One of the favorite ones is because it has a really nice story. So one of the synthetic techniques that we, that is one of our go-to’s for synthesizing multinary chalcogenides solids, with solid state multinary, solid state synthesis of multinary chalcogenides is a Hot Pocket microwave, literally. So what we've been doing is, we've been using the opportunity to use microwaves to obtain high temperatures at a rapid pace and then do rapid quenching following the heating, the heating process to actually have really great yields in terms of purity and establishing the crystal phases that we want. Now, the way that this is done is, this is a solid-state reaction. So all of our precursors are solids and we have depending on the, depending on the end goal, we have a stoichiometric amount of either monometallic species or binary species, before we actually do the microwave reaction, mixing with a ball mill is actually really important. So, we take all the solids, we mix them very, very nicely. Then, after that, we have sort of this, we have a way for us to be able to introduce the very nicely mixed solids into a quartz tube and we use graphite as a susceptor that allows us to even to go to temperatures as high as 1000 or 1100 degrees Celsius. And this is all through a Panasonic microwave and, and 


Paolo  21:20

You mean normal consumer microwave? 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  21:23

Yeah. And actually, you know, so what? My graduate student Jessica, she's constantly bugging me and saying you need to talk to Panasonic, you know, how many microwaves we've used in the past four years? You know, they need to, they need to sponsor us. No, I'm just kidding. No, but a hot, because it's a really nice way for us to be able to get to high temperatures in a rapid in a localized way, in a localized way. And in a rapid fashion.


Paolo  21:55

And it was because you use paramagnetic materials because these are solid phases, there's no water in there, is there?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  22:00

Exactly, no water. And then the actual graphite allows us to, for us to say, allows us for us to get Joule heating essentially. So the microwaves interact with the graphite ignites Joule heating. And then and then we have the same of reaching to really high temperatures and in a timely fashion.


Paolo  22:19

It's very smart. So, basically the way you control, you know, the structure, the nanostructure formation is through, you know, temperature, very fine temperature control and time of temperature and then all this.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  22:31

Well, that's a really good question because, thus far, for Chevrel Phases, what we've been had. So, if you do a basic solid-state reaction with microwave to do the MO, for instance, the copper intercalated, molybdenum six sulfur eight Chevrel Phase, you will end up with is, what we like to say in the solid-state community, with the bulk material. So, you we don't have a say in the morphology with those conditions, but we do have a say on having the proper, you know, chemical makeup that we wanted the as the end goal. However, to impact morphology, one of my graduate students who is now a postdoc at Stanford, Joseph Pearman, he was able to figure out that by having sulfur deficiencies, we could trigger preferential nucleation of wires of instead of molybdenum six-sulfur eight, molybdenum six-sulfur six. So, just, and obviously, this still work in progress in terms of



Paolo  23:40

The way, that's the way you control it's also through you know, your mixture, solid mixture compositions, and


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  23:46

Exactly, exactly, but that's only one way.


Paolo  23:49

How well you mix as well, I suppose, because there's these are localized events. So you really need to have the sulfur in that specific nano scale.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  23:57

Exactly mixing in solid state chemistry is, is actually


Paolo  24:02

A nightmare inorganic chemistry when you need to blend solids. This is the nightmare of any kind


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  24:08

And actually, and it's hard, and it has led to a reinvigorated field actually. It's called, it's being highly pushed in groups all over the world, which is mechanochemistry. And where you get, if you can achieve a system that allows you to do you know finite mixing of solids and at the same time heat them. 


Paolo  24:35

Oh, okay. I see. 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  24:36

Then you have, then you have the levers of control on these, basically both conditions. And that has allowed a lot of discoveries of, for instance, metastable phases of that otherwise it wouldn't be accessible through traditional solid-state chemistry. If we get continued to try to understand how to use electrochemical processes to do catalysis and synthesis of small molecules, but where the electricity is coming from, like you mentioned, is definitely key. And, and in the, in the world of photoelectric chemistry and photocatalysis is still a very interesting and potentially, you know, groundbreaking idea. If, how about if we could just do an all in one where instead of having, you know, a photovoltaic, giving our electrons and wire that to an electrolyzer, how about if we could actually do all both processes in one system. That, of course, is not a new idea. That is something that has been, I mean, I describe the project that invested, that the Department of Energy invested, you know, substantially on.  Which is, which was the Joint Center of Artificial Photosynthesis, and try to figure this out, and how we can make this device that indeed could be could do this process, both selective stable and in and with materials that are, you know, economically viable as well. So, 


Paolo  26:12

And easy to make, right. And hence, you know, all your progress and the research and how to make these materials, you know, 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  26:18

Yeah. You would think, right, you can come you would think, you know, it's okay, right? We're splitting water. How hard can that be? Well, yeah, well, it is. And it's been,


Paolo  26:29

There's a reason why there's so much water.


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  26:30

Exactly. Exactly!


Paolo  26:33

It's not that easy to split. 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  26:34

Yeah. And it's, you know, it's been decades of efforts  from, you know, from amazing scientists trying to, to put all the pieces together and, you know, fundamentally understand it to the level of where it becomes technologically viable. I think that from the electrolyzer standpoint of view, there's been a lot of very interesting, new, promising companies doing really cool work. Like one of them is a for instance, the company Twelve, that is right next door to us, where they are, you know, building electrolyzers to take carbon dioxide and convert it to, you know, carbon monoxide information and other interesting, you know, small molecules that can be liquid fuels or value-added products. But,


Paolo  27:19

To me, that is what chemistry is going in the future. That's what,


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  27:21

Yeah, yeah. So it's, it seems really exciting. It's a right, there's a lot of going back to what we were talking earlier, there is a lot of initiatives, from the fundamental science, from the technological innovation, investment and interest from, you know, from the government, and whatnot. There's a lot of things that are aligning at the moment  to have to make great strides in this field,


Paolo  27:51

You need the economic incentive for a field to thrive.It can be scientifically as interesting as you want. But if there's no attracting from the money perspective, it's just not happening. Is it? 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  28:057



Paolo  28:06

Let me close the circle between you know, the fundamental science and the economic incentives? Are you usually in your projects starting from the more fundamental understanding of some of your materials and then looking at the application? Or is it the other way around? Are you looking for an application and then you go and manipulate the fundamental states of your material?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  28:27

I mean, I think that the way that we've done my team, the way that we've put together this lab, thus far it has been, we understand what are the necessities in terms of being able to use heterogeneous or, you know, inorganic solids. We understand what are the needs of the field in terms of how we could use the chemical makeup of the solids to do specific reactions. Specifically, like we mentioned, CO2 reduction has been a very strong, we've had strong interest in trying to synthesize materials that allows us to get that very activity. That has been a really a big way on how we've structured our laboratory, in terms of, in terms of motivation, and in terms of the fundamental aspects behind our materials. There are moments where we have a fundamentally interesting elucidation of the material, that not necessarily translate into a device functionality, but we see it as you know, we see it as an initial step for us to try to understand the actual material a little bit more. So, for example, one of the interesting features  of having these multinary chalcogenides and it's with multiple options to intercalate 3D metals, or group one, group two elements, is that when you do intercalation, in close proximity to that little, you know, molybdenum 6-sulfur 8 cluster, these intercalates are in close proximity to basically, you know, p, a sulfur p orbitals that you are gonna want to, you know, there's going to have to be some type of charge transfer happening from the intercalant to these available orbitals. And not only that, but that also basically has an impact on electron localization surrounding the area where sulfur is in close proximity to molybdenum. And as in, that it's actually important because we know, based on DFT calculations, that there there's a strong possibility that CO2 wants to bind to the molybdenum centers within the crystalline structure. So again, for us to be able to manipulate the, you know, to manipulate the area in which the binding is going to occur, it's going, it's going to take for us to understand how we can reduce or oxidize this region by manipulation of the electronic structure and composition. Right, these are very, these are very sort of, you know, qualitative fundamental connections, but that need further exploration and elucidation for us to then be able to translate into a device.


Paolo  31:55

Well, this is science. It is gaining scientific knowledge. Right? 


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  31:59



Paolo  31:59

That you need to, then, develop the application. Otherwise you're just, just you're playing with it. There's something


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  32:04

You're exactly. You're just trying, you know, okay. Does it work?  Doesn't work, right. I mean, and that's not


Paolo  32:13

The scientist asks, why? Why does it work? Why doesn't it work?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  32:17

Exactly. And actually, the latter, why it doesn't work. I'm really happy that, you know, colleagues around the world, our colleagues around the world, as well as journalists around the world, are figuring out ways on how to promote scientists to speak about, you know, some of the lab failures in in science. 


Paolo  32:41

Oh, yes. This is beautiful. I completely agree with you. We never learn from failures, because you know, you only you only publish your successes. Right?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  32:51

Exactly. So yeah, I mean, I really love that point Paolo. Because it's imperative, right? I mean, it's the only way for us to be able. I think it's one way to further solidify, how we could leverage each other's results, good and bad, in a worldwide manner, right? Talking about the good and the bad, in a succinct and specific way.


Paolo  33:20

Oh, gosh, every one of us has been in a situation where you do something that you expect to work, and it doesn't agree. There's so much learning there. Yeah. And you are never, you're never, you never speak about those things. Well, yeah, maybe within your own lab, but that's it, isn't it?


Dr. Jesús Velázquez  33:35

Yeah, it's not encouraged. I, we obviously have a way to go to make it even, you know, a much more common practice, but it's really encouraging to see you know, journals supporting it. Because I think that that that is just going to hopefully do a nice, you know, ripple effect.


Paolo  34:00

All this is super fascinating. And I wish we had another couple of hours, but I'm sure you have better things to do than spending your morning with me. So I have to come to my usual final question of the interview, which is, which is always the same.  Kind of makes it nice and comfortable for me, for the listeners, hopefully. It's just you know now, you've been through your paths and, you know, you're still young, and with a bright future ahead of you, I'm sure. But you know, you're also accomplished already and then you have a lot to give and you're giving so what is, what will be the one piece of advice you'd give, or you are giving, right, to the people you mentor, to someone just starting their career? 


Paolo  34:41

Yeah.  First and foremost, no fear, no fear of failure whatsoever. Fail often, it's okay. And we, obviously, in a in a safe manner. But, you know, I think that getting comfortable with the fact that it's okay to fail. I mean, this goes back to the whole of promoting our failures worldwide so we can learn from them. I like to instill them into my core team of students, I want you to fail, it's okay to fail. I want to talk about your failures as well. So, no fear of failure. Another big one is you’re not your results. Okay? So it regardless of what happens, you go into the laboratory, you've been working on a project one or two years. You know, of course, you're monitoring progress and whatnot. But these failures that you are, you know, encountering as a scientist do not have to do nothing with the exceptional human being that you are, and most likely as a scientist as well. So if you can encode that in your brain, that you're not your results, and little to no fear of failure, then the next thing you know, you are, you know, you're setting yourself up to have a natural progression of your development as a scientist. And, and then last, but not least, I always like to tell my students that allowing yourself to be uncomfortable, is when you truly are winning, right? In, especially when you are developing as a PhD student, of course, there are many challenges and a lot of things that you didn't even expect for them to be challenges. So you know, being uncomfortable with being uncomfortable with being uncomfortable, is actually really helpful as well.


Paolo  36:35

That was Dr. Jesús Velázquez , Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of California-Davis, and one of the Chemical and Engineering News' Talented 12. If you enjoyed this conversation, you're sure to enjoy Dr. Velázquez’s book, video, podcasts, and other content recommendations. Look in the Episode Notes for a URL where you can access these recommendations and register for a free Bringing Chemistry to Life t-shirt. This episode closes season three of Bringing Chemistry to Life. Thanks for joining us. Every new season is a journey for me. A journey of discovery and learning. I feel privileged to have the chance to speak to so many talented chemists and honored to have so many of you sharing my love for science and listening loyally to our episodes. This is what keeps us going. Stay tuned for more from us. Season Four will be here before we know it. This episode was produced by Sarah Briganti, Matt Ferris, and Matthew Stock.