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A Day in the Lab with Tia Lee

Profiles- - By Tien Nguyen, Department of Chemistry

A Day in the Lab is a Q&A series that gives readers a glimpse into the lives of Princeton researchers across the chemistry department. This installment features Tia Lee, a second year graduate student in the Scholes lab. She graduated from the University of Toronto with B.Sc. in chemical physics and mathematics in 2011.

Tia Lee

1) What she’s working on:

I am currently working on studying the photophysics of singlet exciton fission in the functionalized pentacene nanoparticles via various spectroscopic techniques. 

2) Typical daily routine:

My days usually varies, but daily routine of 10:30 am coffee, 12:00 pm lunch and 6:00 pm dinner applies. Outside of those times, I spend early morning making a rather ‘unrealistic’ to do list for the day and replying to emails. And rest of the day I do the tasks on my to do list!

3) Most effective organizational tool:

I will have to say for ‘effective’ tools, I am a big fan of a daily planner, COLOURFUL pens and lots and lots of post it notes. I also like to take the scintillation vial box, take out the divider inside and organize my papers/folders based on the topics.

4) Most productive time of the day:

I work best after dinner around 7-10. In the morning I usually am a resident of a ‘struggle city.’

5) Strategy for keeping up with the literature:

I don’t have particular strategy for keeping up with literature, but I periodically go on web of science and key word search and see if any interesting papers are published recently.

6) Most essential scientific instrument:

UV-VIS spectrometer. 

7) Favorite way to spend a break:

I like to spend my break time with friends and family. If I am with group of people, then I like to spend it with any combination of board games, cultural food night and movie night. If I am spending it alone at home, then I like to read, play music, or paint. Oh, let’s not forget about Netflix :).

8) Most interesting research right now (outside of your lab):

I’d have to say the most interesting research involves chemical aging of bourbon whiskey.

9) Favorite element/compound: 

Fused benzene rings. Not because I am working on related systems, but because it is fun drawing them, despite how my friends might not approve of my way of drawing fused benzene rings. Apparently, I have unusual way of drawing it. I don’t draw one hexagon at a time, but rather I start off with something that looks like conjugated alkene chain.