Prof. Asterios Gavriilidis

Dept of Chemical Engineering, University College London

What is your background? What made you decide to become a scientist?

My background is in chemical engineering, while my PhD focused on catalytic reaction engineering and specifically on catalyst activity optimisation in pellets and reactors. The inspiration to become a scientist came from my high school physics teacher, who had a passion and enthusiasm for science that rubbed off and instigated in me a love for science.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful scientist? Why?

Creativity, critical thinking and perseverance. It is crucial to think out of the box, analyse a problem to its parts, and have the determination to keep going when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

What is your favourite part of being a scientist?

Every day is different; it brings something new, something interesting. I get great satisfaction when I along with my students, postdocs and collaborators create a concept or a device that did not exist before and solve problems that address grand challenges.

What would you say have been some of your lessons learned over your early career development?

At the early stages of oneā€™s career one is enthusiastic and ambitious. While these are desirable traits, they need to be balanced against what realistically can be achieved within given resources and time.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

My PhD advisor, Prof Arvind Varma. He had tireless drive, optimism and attention to detail. His strength and fighting spirit during his last few yearsā€™ fight with illness have been immensely inspirational.

What are you working on next?

I am working alongside a great team of chemists and engineers to change the philosophy of catalyst design. We aim to bring a different perspective on catalyst design by identifying at an early stage, how catalyst attributes affect overall process performance, so that we can provide meaningful targets for catalyst characteristics.

Any collaboration opportunities you would like through the greater community?

There are new powerful experimental tools for catalyst investigation, which integrated with engineering modelling approaches can provide a new multifaceted approach to catalytic process development. These offer unique opportunities for collaboration.

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