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To celebrate International Women's Day, we invited space journalist Sarah Cruddas to interview Patiya Pasakon, a researcher with our Wonder Materials sponsors Haydale, about her life as a woman working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Patiya Pasakon

What do you do?

I work in research and development, synthesizing graphene and modifying material surfaces to use as bio and chemical sensors. In order to do this, I use special techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and Atomic-force microscopy.

What excites you most about your job?

I find my job both exciting and challenging. I love doing research, using lots of different scientific instruments. One of the best things is being able to observe new phenomena while conducting experiments.

What is a typical day like?

No day is ever the same. I have to plan out how to conduct each step of my research. I then try and accomplish the tasks and experiments. If the desired results aren’t achieved, I then have to look at new strategies.

Why is what you are doing so important?

It’s so important because it is research into developing new graphene-enhanced materials. These can be used to produce ink-based graphene materials, which are widely required for many applications. Some of these applications include biosensors, printed electronics and surface coatings. I am one of the scientists who supports and drives this research area forward.

What is your message to other women and girls who might want to work in science?

Working in science as a career is hugely interesting and rewarding. You get to learn new things while developing research work. I love doing scientific research; one of the best things is the knowledge that you are always learning new things and can make a real difference in the world. There needs to be more women working in science.

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond is on at the museum until 25 June. Come along and find out more about the amazing women (and men) who are working with this new, advanced material.

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