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30 under 30: Discovering New Ways to Create Molecules

Meet Bill Morandi, one of the promising young chemists attending the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting



Courtesy of Bill Morandi

Each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in Lindau, Germany, for the Nobel Laureate Meeting. There, the newest generation of scientists mingles with Nobel Prize winners and discusses their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting is dedicated to chemistry and will involve young researchers from 78 different countries. In anticipation of the event, which will take place from June 30 through July 5, we are highlighting a group of attendees under 30 who represent the future of chemistry. The following profile is the second in a series of 30.

 
Name: Bill Morandi
Age: 30
Born: Fribourg, Switzerland
Nationality: Swiss

Current position: Postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology
Education: BS in Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich); MS in Biology, ETH Zurich; Dr. Sc. in chemistry, ETH Zurich

What is your field of research?
My research deals with the development of novel chemical reactions for the rapid and efficient synthesis of molecules for applications in materials science, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology.

What drew you to chemistry, and to that research area in particular?
I have always been fascinated by the natural sciences, but it was not until the age of 20 that I decided to focus on chemistry and particularly methods development. This field of research is a particularly exciting environment, combining not only knowledge and logic, but also creativity and advanced experimental techniques.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope I will be as passionate as I am now about methods development. I am looking forward to starting my own research group and enjoying every aspect of chemical research.

Who are your scientific heroes?
I am particularly impressed by the natural scientists of the middle ages, such as a Leonardo da Vinci. Those exceptional individuals had the ability and interest to freely undertake any research endeavor. Mixing arts, sciences and philosophy led them to major discoveries beyond specific disciplines.

What is your dream study or experiment? If you had unlimited resources, what kind of research would you conduct?
One can only dream about such a possibility…. I guess I would like to explore fundamentally new concepts aiming at mimicking life processes using chemical synthesis. Among other ideas, the development of a process enabling the sequence-specific growth of artificial polymers using molecular recognition principles would be fantastic. This would lead to the re-invention of the principles of life, which will certainly enable formidable new discoveries.

What do you hope to gain from this year’s Lindau meeting?
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will offer me a unique possibility to meet some of the most exceptional chemists of our time. I am particularly looking forward to hearing their opinions about chemical research beyond their specific areas, as this could provide inspiration for my future research. The conference also gives me the ability to connect with scientists from around the world.

Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet?
I am particularly excited to meet Nobel laureates outside of my specific field of research to broaden my horizons.

« Previous
1. Chiara Nardon
30 Under 30:
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Next »
3. Banothile Makhubela

 

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