On the spot with Sossina Haile

Sossina Hailea He is a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA the first one solid acid fuel cells In the 1990swith record performance for clean and efficient energy production.

I was born in Ethiopia. When I was very young – two or four years old – we lived in the United States. Because my father was an academician. After returning to Ethiopia, I attended a British school. This meant that I spoke English as my first language and even had an English accent at the time.

There was a communist revolution In 1974, we had a chance to leave the country. I was almost 10 years old when my sisters and I came out – our parents had come to our house about seven months before the soldiers came to arrest my father. They shot my father that night. Miraculously, he and my mother were able to get to a hospital in England shortly afterwards. My sisters and I were staying with our two aunts, waiting to get out.

When we returned to the US, we moved to Minnesota. What was surprising was how hot it was. Addis Ababa, where my family lives, is a bit like San Francisco in terms of climate and weather: mild year-round, not too hot in the summer. We came to Minnesota in July to experience the humidity, the heat, the mosquitoes—everything that Americans associate with Africa. But then winter came, which shocked us.

I definitely considered different career paths. When I was a kid, I knew I loved math and nature, and it was fun. But besides architecture and photography, I also loved art and writing. I was also kind of a student activist, so I was thinking about something in government. It was a hard decision, but for the most part I loved science and was good at it, so that’s what I chose.

There was no particular model that inspired me grow up If defined as someone who looks like you and has a similar background, I wouldn’t say I’m a role model. I had some wonderful mentors who were willing to guide and advise me, and most of them were white men.

I’ve never been one to resonate with patterns. My father used to tell me: “You are completely controlled from within. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand what it means to role model on an emotional level. But I understand its importance intellectually. If it matters to people and will change the landscape, I’m happy to expose this role.

Of course, there are people I find very impressive, like Nelson Mandela, was amazing not to be bitter, or at least not to express it, when he got out of prison. I would say someone like Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for combining great science with great ethics in science. there are people like [Caltech chemical engineer and Nobel laureate] Incredibly inspiring Francis Arnold. But these people are also scary because they are so successful and have done things I never thought I could do. It is impossible to think of following their same path.

I don’t think I’m out of the norm

Statistically speaking, I’m sure I’ve been discriminated against through my career. I have seen many studies showing that men receive more research grants than women, that men are promoted faster than women, and that men earn higher salaries than women. I don’t think I’m out of the norm. If we don’t believe that women are less capable than men on average, then I am discriminated against by definition.

This is a beautiful photo – I’m on an advisory board of about 15 people, including a 14-year-old white male in a black suit and white hair. And I happened to wear this amazing colorful jacket with all those flowers. This is my life as a scientist.

Of course, I’m “in the room” most of the time. I often go through something and think it’s because I’m a woman, or because I’m black, or because I look young, or because I’m short, or because that’s how people treat everyone. But I don’t understand what it is.

No highlights, just a lot of pinpricks, continuous pinpricks. “Could you get me some coffee, please?” whom. I answer: “No, I’m not an employee here.” This has happened countless times.

If I start again as a scientistUnlike an engineer, and I was looking at science for science’s sake, I would probably choose the origin of consciousness as the focus. If you believe in physics and the laws of physics, then there should be no free will. All this happened in the Big Bang. All matter and energy in the universe came into being and everything that happened was predestined. It’s a little scary.

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