Like Feynman, the Nobel physicist and consummate professor, Simon is possessed with a vibrant curiosity. Simon says he hopes to instill that same enthusiasm and excitement in his students.
His enthusiasm for MOFs notwithstanding, Simon’s expertise and skills as a theoretician have broad applicability throughout the field of chemical engineering. So he doesn’t feel bound by any particular area of inquiry as he develops his own research program at Oregon State, at least not at this stage in his career.
His current projects provide a glimpse into the eclectic nature of his interests.
First, he’s working on a physics-based model to explain the formation and persistence of fairy circles, the mysterious, round patches of barren earth sprinkled throughout the grasslands of Australia and Africa. The circles form a regular pattern, and they shrink and expand depending on how much it rains. Various causes have been suggested for their appearance, including termites and plant toxins. But the problem is still shrouded in uncertainty.
With such a diverse assortment of intellectual appetites, Simon says he has to be careful to pace himself. He offers the following quote from Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR pioneer and professor of chemistry at Berkeley, describing two different types of scientist:
In that context, Simon says, he sees himself at a buffet.
Read more about Cory Simon’s work on his website, The Simon Research Ensemble.