Research in materials science at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Saryu Fensin ’06
Technical Staff Member, Materials Science Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Academic focus: chemistry major
Research group: Gomez Lab
Advanced degree: Ph.D.
The broader goal of my research is to understand how materials, especially metals and alloys fail under dynamic loading conditions. I use a combination of atomistic simulations and experiments to determine the mechanisms that drive damage nucleation, evolution, and failure in ductile metals.
My chemistry background at Mount Holyoke College helped me acquire a well-balanced understanding of some of the core concepts that are key to my current research. Some examples of these courses include quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, inorganic chemistry, calculus along with the necessary lab experience.
The biggest perk of being a chemistry major was the opportunity to do research during my undergraduate which is not possible at the larger universities. As part of my undergraduate research, I studied proton conduction in perovskites in Dr. Gomez's group. This research project not only taught me the technical skills that still form the foundations of my current work but also provided me the tools to be a successful scientist.
In addition, this project provided me with other research opportunities outside of Mount Holyoke which played a huge role in determining my current career path. Due to the small size of the chemistry department, I was able to interact with faculty one-on-one and get the mentoring which eventually helped me reach where I am today.