Chemistry Graduate Student Jules Oppenheim describes his research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.
Originally from New York, Jules Oppenheim is in his second year as a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. A member of Mircea Dincă’s lab, Jules works on the design of new materials that can be used as adsorbents for gas separations. The most common method for gas separations is distillation, which can be very energy intensive. Adsorbents which are selective for particular gases, such as adsorbents with metals that can coordinate ethylene, but not ethane, can offset the energy consumption. In particular, he is trying to use metal-organic frameworks as a platform for these selective metals.
As the subject of this month’s Graduate Student Spotlight, Jules shares the hobby he’d take up if time and money were no object, the subject he could give a 40 minute presentation on without any preparation, his best and worst purchases , and more!
- What random job do you think you’d be really good at?
I think I would make a great gourmet mushroom cultivator.
- What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Probably crystal field theory, which is a theory that describes how atomic orbitals are affected by static charges.
What superstition do you believe in?Unfortunately none.
- What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
It would be some combination of biking and sleeping under the sun.
- What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
The best purchase has been a flair manual espresso maker and the worst was any food purchase at the beginning of the quarantine that still hasn’t been opened.
- What animal or plant do you think should be renamed, and what should the new name be?
The red panda is not a panda nor a bear. It should be renamed to the red koala (as koalas are also not bears).
- What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?
There are much fewer anvils in real life than TV let on.
- Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
At some point during undergrad, I decided to flip a coin and have that decide what I was going to do. And have just been going with it ever since.
- What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
It would be amazing to bike across the country.
- Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Barack Obama, Conan O’Brian, Guy Fieri, and Tom Scott.
- Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
My Morning Jacket.
- If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
Any house with Spanish colonial revival architecture.
- What bends your mind every time you think about it?
It blows my mind when I try to think about how much time is left in the universe.
- Who would be the best person to be stuck in an elevator with?
Who takes elevators with more than one person nowadays
- What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
- If you could pick any career other than the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
I would be a waiter, maybe after grad school I’ll go do that.
What is the most annoying habit that other people have?Eating while talking on the phone.
- What skill would you like to master?
- What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from a work of fiction?
If you’re writing a work of fiction, don’t use footnotes.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?I’m an in the moment kind of person and tend not to think about the future.
Many thanks to Jules for these thoughtful answers! Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights in the months to come!