Every scientist dreams of making a big discovery but CSIRO researcher Dr Michael Seo has found two in one.
First, he and his team found a much cheaper way to make graphene, a semi-metal often used in electronics, using waste cooking oil. Then they discovered that, unlike other types of graphene, theirs was permeable to water so could be used as a filter that removes contaminants faster, and doesn’t get clogged.
This discovery could give millions of people access to clean water and, like most scientific research, it wouldn’t have been possible without computer science. Michael spends as much time in front of a screen as he does in the lab.
“I use digital technologies a lot in my work. We use them to monitor the water purification system, as well as interpreting and analysing the data,” he says. Scientists like Michael need tech skills for things like remotely monitoring what’s happening in the field. “Digital technologies can help scientists work more efficiently, wherever they are.”
Michael studied a double degree in commerce and science before researching nanomaterials in his PhD. Now he hopes to use his commerce skills to make commercially viable graphene water filters. “Being able to help people is what I love about being a scientist,” he says.
To get there: bit.ly/CSIROCareers
This article was brought to you in partnership with CSIRO. It was originally published in Careers with STEM: Code 2019. You can read the e-magazine for free online here.
Author: Chloe Walker
Chloe is a freelance writer and editor from Melbourne. She loves talking to people about their passions, whether that’s STEM, arts, business, or something else entirely! chloe-walker.com