Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Naomi Ginsberg, Associate Professor of chemistry and physics at University of California, Berkeley and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. The interview begins with Ginsberg discussing her multidisciplinary background in science and how she prefers not to draw boundaries between research fields. She talks about how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected her research and the science community in general. Then Ginsberg turns to her childhood in Canada and recalls being a curious child with many interests. She describes her undergraduate studies in engineering at the University of Toronto and her summers of research at the Institute for Biodiagnostics, which is where she became seriously interested in physics. Ginsberg discusses pursuing a PhD at Harvard University under Lene Hau, where she worked on ultraslow light in Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluid dynamics. She then talks about wanting to switch gears toward biophysics and choosing to go to LBL for a post-doc in photosynthesis work. Ginsberg describes accepting her current position at Berkeley and the different cultures between the chemistry and physics departments. Towards the end of the interview, she touches on her DARPA grant for research on organic semiconductors, as well as the advances in technology that have informed and shaped her research over the years. Ginsberg looks back on the many grad students she has mentored and points to open-mindedness and confidence as key characteristics for their success.