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Professor Saiful Islam

My research

My research is in the area of clean energy materials, exploring new classes of compounds for rechargeable lithium batteries and next-generation solar cells. As a Royal Society of Chemistry poster says:  ‘Not all chemists wear white lab coats.’ My research uses advanced computer modelling techniques to help understand fundamental structure-property relationships of new energy materials on the atomic- and nano-scale. For example, my research group are studying lithium-ion diffusion in iron-silicate battery materials for electric vehicles, which offer the tantalising prospect of cheap and sustainable electrodes from rust and sand!

My journey

I am very fortunate working at a university carrying out exciting research and having the flexibility to share family things such as dropping-off at the nursery and primary school, preparing meals and reading bedtime stories. As a GP, Gita is a working mother and has been very supportive of my academic career. We had children relatively late (38+). Local nurseries and a child-minder were very important. Sadly, austerity cuts mean affordable childcare is not available to all. Being away at overseas conferences can be hard, so I try to cut that down. I sometimes show Gita a list of exotic conferences I have declined, although she replies "Can I go instead?"