A male graduate student stands in front of a fume hood.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Martin-Louis Riu

Categories: Students

Chemistry Graduate Student Martin-Louis Riu describes his research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Martin-Louis Riu has been at MIT for a year as a member of Professor Kit Cummins‘ laboratory. Martin’s project in the Cummins Lab involves developing anthracene-based precursors to new simple substance, such as Phosphobenzene and [N=P=N] − , the the phosphorus-containing analogue of the notorious azide anion. In the solid state, these precursors thermally release highly reactive fragments into the gas-phase, where they can subsequently be detected and subjected to spectroscopic investigation. In solution, these precursors can be used to transfer their reactive fragments to substrates in an elegant manner. As the subject of October 2018’s graduate student spotlight, Martin shares the type of restaurant he would open, the best thing about where he grew up, an unconventional food combination he enjoys, and more!

  1. How did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
    Since I first learned about valence bond theory and molecular orbital theory, I’ve been fascinated by fundamental bonding concepts. Joining Kit’s lab was a no brainer!
  2. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
    I would really love to learn how to play jazz upright bass!
  3. What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?
    Left 4 Dead.
  4. What weird food combinations do you really enjoy?
    Chicken nuggets + apple sauce.
  5. What are some red flags to watch out for in daily life?
    “Free” usually never means free.
  6. What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
    There Will be Blood.
  7. In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
    My guitar! I’ve played guitar my whole life, I couldn’t imagine being without it.
  8. If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?
    Sam Elliott.
  9. What unethical experiment would have the biggest positive impact on society as a whole?
    Unrestricted human medical testing.
  10. What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?
    A subterranean waterfall.
  11. If you could know the truth behind every conspiracy, but you would instantly die if you hinted that you knew the truth, would you want to know?
  12. What’s the most ridiculous animal on the planet?
    It’s a tie between the chevrotain and the capybara.
  13. What’s the best thing about the place you grew up?
    There are some pretty great beaches and hikes in the Malibu area.
  14. What inconsequential super power would you like to have?
    Time traveling.
  15. If you wanted to slowly drive a roommate insane using only notes, what kind of notes would you leave around the house?
    I would leave around notes that say “Iron-sulfur clusters are lame”.
  16. What’s incredibly cheap and you would pay way more for?
    Miller High Life at the Muddy.
  17. What would be the hat to end all hats? What could you wear on your head that would make people stop what they are doing and stare in awe and amazement?
    Smitty Werben Man Jensen’s hat.

  18. What did you believe for way too long as a child?
    That it is illegal to drive at night with your interior light on.
  19. What two things are terrible when separate but great when you put them together?
    Sodium and chlorine.
  20. If you owned a restaurant, what kind of food would it serve?

Many thanks to Martin for these thoughtful answers! Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights in the months to come!