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About Harpur

The romance of chemistry

Senior Gene Nolis has already had an academic career that would make a PhD candidate jealous.

Gene Nolis's reason for joining Professor Stanley Whittingham's research group might seem unusual — "I thought energy-based research was a romantic idea" — but not as unusual as his reasons for wanting to study chemistry in the first place.

"Part of why I got into chemistry was to publish and become an author," he says. "I guess I have a lot of romantic ideas, but why not become an author in some fashion?"

He's succeeded. Only in his senior year, Nolis has already published articles in two juried periodicals — the Journal of Materials Chemistry and the Materials Research Society's Proceedings. He's also the only undergraduate appointed to the editorial board of the Energy Frontier Research Center Newsletter, which is made up of researchers from MIT, Amherst and Argonne National Laboratory.

Because of his hands-on work in Whittingham's group, Nolis has traveled all over the country presenting his research (he won the best oral presentation award at the Undergraduate Chemistry Meeting at the University at Buffalo), working with some of the top scientists in the world and meeting congressmen who shape national energy policy.

"So not only have I gotten a chemist's fundamental perspective, but I've gotten a political and an economic perspective as well," he says. "My expectations through my studies in chemistry were surpassed by a long shot ever since my involvement with the Whittingham group. My ability to travel, go to conferences, apply my research and become connected to high-quality individuals truly exceeded my expectations."

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Last Updated: 12/10/14