Ph.D. Student Adrian Bautista is motivated to learn from different fields of science and combine them to solve problems, because he believes that combining them is the solution path for new technological applications. So he chose to attend graduate school in chemistry after earning a bachelor’s degree in physics.
“I like to think of science as a group rather than a specific domain,” says Battista, part of the new Kummer Innovation and Entrepreneurship Doctoral Fellows Program at Missouri S&T. This project provides support for Ph.D. Students in STEM fields interested in pursuing technological innovation and entrepreneurship. “I am very interested in learning as much as possible about physico-chemical systems and applying my knowledge to all kinds of challenges.”
Mix it all together
Battista’s current research project focuses on long-range interactions between molecules, which he says is a perfect blend of physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science.
“The interaction between molecules is a common phenomenon that can affect the state of the system producing different end products depending on their initial conditions,” says Batista, an international student from Cuba. “I am investigating special cases when two molecules interact at a wide range of low temperatures and pressures, conditions found in many places in nature such as the stratosphere or the nebula where ozone and star formation occur.”
Battista’s research in molecular dynamics focuses on these interactions and their evolution over time. By modeling and simulating systems to calculate their potential function, he is creating a method to measure the potential energy surface of molecules while considering long-range molecular system variables such as diffusion, induction and electrostatic effects. His computer modeling may even replace expensive laboratory experiments in the future.
“In recent decades, the automobile and aircraft industries have been developing exciting new technologies to improve engine performance,” says Battista. “One of those techniques is cold combustion, where the temperature of the system is low and long-range molecular interactions are required. The transportation sector is a large area of practical applications of this research. “
Graduate School by Design
For as long as he can remember, Battista says he’s interested in working in the scientific field, but he says he chose to go to graduate school after much reflection.
“My professional goal is to become a scientific researcher in the branches of applied physics and chemistry,” says Battista. “After spending a lot of time researching, I believe the Ph.D. program offered by Missouri S&T and the Coomer Fellowship support will significantly help me achieve these goals.
Batista says he sees graduate school as a personal project. From his perspective, it’s a long process that involves spending a lot of time on a particular subject through rigorous study and research, but he says he doesn’t regret the decision to apply.
“The best advice I can give a potential graduate school applicant is to think twice and take the time you need to decide if you want to continue, rather than feeling pressured to continue,” Batista says. “Second, find something that motivates you. Instead of a nine-to-five office job, find something exciting and fun for you, and you’ll have fun.”
About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of approximately 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri system and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 fields of study and is one of the top 10 universities in the nation for return on investment, according to Business Insider. S&T is also home to the Kummer Institute, made possible by a $300 million gift from Fred and June Kummer. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.