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Why Science?

ORNL is proud of its role in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers. We bring in talented young researchers, team them with accomplished staff members, and put them to work at the lab’s one-of-a-kind facilities. The result is research that makes us proud and prepares them for distinguished careers.

We asked some of these young researchers why they chose a career in science, what they are working on at ORNL, and where they would like to go with their careers.

Syed Islam

Postdoc, Chemical Sciences Division
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky
Hometown: Comilla, Bangladesh

What are you working on at ORNL?

The focus of my research is the development of novel membrane technologies for the recovery and recycling of rare earth elements from electronic wastes including cellphones and hybrid/electric cars. It will meet the growing demand and address the supply risk of REEs for clean energy technologies. 

What would you like to do in your career?

I would like to build a research program to develop next-generation, advanced, novel materials and processes for energy-efficient and highly selective separations and purifications in energy and environmental applications. The research will address global energy security challenges with environmentally friendly solutions.

Why did you choose a career in science?

I had an uncanny knack for doing mathematics from my elementary school. Growing up in a village, aspiring to live a prosperous life, and knowing science as creating something new led me to pursue science. With time I felt that I really loved to reflect on and find immense pleasure in doing science.