Department of Chemistry
Faculty of Natural Sciences
My life before BGU:
I was born in Wales, U.K. (not England!) and grew up in Cardiff, Wales' capital city. I studied chemistry in Cardiff University and continued there for my PhD in physical chemistry. I moved to the Weizmann Institute for a postdoc where I explored how animals use crystals to manipulate light.
"I was very excited by the trajectory of the chemistry department. I was impressed by the drive, quality and enthusiasm of the new recruits, who are well supported and guided by equally enthusiastic senior colleagues"
In my PhD I became fascinated by crystals. Something about the order and symmetry of crystals was intrinsically appealing to me. Late in my PhD, through the seminal papers of Profs. Lia Addadi and Steve Weiner in Weizmann, I found out that animals also make crystals! Organisms exquisitely control the shape, size and structure of these crystals utilizing synthetic strategies far beyond the capabilities of chemistry. These materials are used in a variety of biological functions. I became instantly fascinated. My long-term vision is to understand how organisms control crystallization processes and to uncover new bio-inspired crystallization techniques for the synthesis of novel organic materials.
I was very excited by the trajectory of the chemistry department. Compared to other departments in Israel it is a young faculty. I was impressed by the drive, quality and enthusiasm of the new recruits, who are well supported and guided by equally enthusiastic senior colleagues. The leadership in the department is extremely ambitious and progressive. There is a collective will among the faculty to create a genuinely outstanding department led by research excellence. I also have a longstanding collaboration with Prof. Amir Sagi in Biology and his presence in BGU was a major draw. All of these factors convinced me that BGU provided the best home for me.
An insight from my research:
A lot of chemistry is geared towards making things ('invention'). However, my Professors in Weizmann introduced me to the excitement of scientific 'discovery'. In my lab we explore optical systems in biology and tell people about the things we find. There is a place for both inventors and discoverers in science, but for me there is no greater thrill than discovering new things about nature.
Something that doesn't appear on my resume:
Like all other proud Welshmen, I am obsessed with rugby. I love watching and playing sport - running, swimming, tennis, hiking, surfing, cricket. I try to go skiing once a year.
A source of inspiration:
The coastline of Wales
When I grow up:
My dream was to play back-garden cricket and beach rugby every day.
Today I would like to help 'make BGU chemistry even greater…again'.
» Facebook or Twitter? Hypothetically twitter. I have neither.
» Game of Thrones or the Simpsons? Family guy
» Yoga or CrossFit? Both are illegal in Wales. Rugby.
» Hapo'el or Maccabi? Hapo'el, I think. Which is the lefty one?
» Chess or backgammon? My chess career consists of one spectacular fail in a school chess club. Not for me.
» Steak or tofu? Steak
» Trekking or the spa? Definitely trekking. I would like to explore the Negev more.
» Car or train? Train
» X-Box or PlayStation? PlayStation. Best game ever = Jonah Lomu Rugby (1996)
» Fortis or Sakharof? I don't know what these are.
» Classic Europe or India? Europe. I love the Alps.
» Ocean or the pool? Ocean, especially on the West Coast of Wales. Too cold for soft Israelis though.
» Morning or night? Night.
» Winter or summer? Israeli winter. Welsh summer
» Cat or dog? Dogs for sure. Don't get me started on cats. I am terrified of them.
» Movie or play? Probably movies… although I prefer obscure, esoteric YouTube documentaries.