Name: May Nyman
Area of study / position title: Materials Inorganic Chemistry focused on aqueous inorganic clusters/Associate Professor
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.): My father was a naturalist and took us hiking to look at trees, birds, flowers, animals. But I only cared about the rocks and the sparkly minerals that made up the rocks. We went to the Smithsonian many times and I only wanted to see the gem and mineral collection. This steered me towards geology as an undergrad. Then I took mineralogy and learned how the arrangement of atoms in minerals control the shape, and how the periodic table controls the color and arrangement of the atoms; I was totally hooked on inorganic chemistry…not organic chemistry: that was the trees, birds, flowers and animals!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?: Discovering new ways to make materials from water. Some materials are simply to understand how molecules and atoms interact with each other in water, and some are help solve global energy and environmental issues.
One thing that you truly love about your job?: Top three things: I love discovering new chemistry that totally surprises me, I love writing about it to share these discoveries with the scientific community and the world, I love working with young scientist in training, and colleagues from all over the world.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself.: What really makes me happy and sometimes gets me through those rainy Oregon days is international traditional music and dance. Now if only I can get the international scientists to dance with me, my circle would be complete.