Martin Siron

Why did you choose to study MSE?

I was a Chemical Engineering major with an emphasis in nanotechnology in undergrad. Part of that degree involved spending some time in a research lab and taking some materials classes. That exposed me to the big picture problems that materials scientist and engineers tackle. I’ve also always been passionate about tackling climate change through a materials perspective: better solar cells, improved batteries and storage technologies, etc. These are all fundamentally materials problem for which I felt like I could hone my skills and possibly make an impact in one of these areas.


What do you like most about MSE? 

I love both the big picture problems we aim to solve at the research level, but also the pursuit for better fundamental understanding of the intricacies of how nature works. It inspires me every day how we affect change through breakthroughs and how we better our understanding of the physical world we live in.


Any interesting projects/research you are working on now that you’d like to share?

I work on photocatalyst for CO2 reduction. Those are materials that, broadly, take in sunlight, water and CO2 and convert it to useful fuels and other basic chemicals. You can think of them as performing ‘reverse combustion.’ Because of the existing infrastructure around liquid fuels, they are a promising attempt at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and creating a net neutral carbon fuel source. We’re in the materials discovery phase, so we are trying to identify materials that can do this process better than current ones and understand what about these materials makes them better. It’s truly fascinating, and I’m hoping to find something promising. Time will tell!


What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

I love swimming. I swim most evenings in one of the many pools on campus, and on weekends I’ll swim in the Bay in either the SF maritime park or the Berkeley marina. I’m training for the swim to Alcatraz, so trying to get as much open water as possible! Additionally, I love camping and hiking. I’ll try to sneak a few camping trips a year at one of the national or state parks, my favorite on during this time of the year is Big Sur!


What are your future plans? 

Location wise, I’m hoping to return to sunny SoCal – preferably Los Angeles. Career wise, I’m still deciding, but I am thinking of perhaps joining a start-up, or a project where I can work on green tech. Or perhaps even founding a start-up to work on green tech. I have about two years to make up my mind, but I’m getting more and more excited about my future prospects.