Elements of Success

Aubrey Paris ’15 has been chosen as one of the world’s 118 top young chemists by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and appears on its Periodic Table of Younger Chemists.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of IUPAC and the International Year of the Periodic Table, each chemist has been chosen for embodying the mission and core values of IUPAC. The resulting periodic table highlights the diversity of careers, creativity and dedication of the young chemists leading us into the next century.

“When I read the names, credentials and accomplishments of the other recipients, it becomes very clear to me that being recognized in this capacity is truly an honor,” said Paris, who was nominated by Brian Pfennig, an assistant professor of chemistry at Ursinus.

Winners are being profiled on the IUPAC100 website and receive a certificate from IUPAC. Elements of the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists are being revealed over time in order of scientific discovery. Paris, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Princeton University, is representing the element Potassium on the table.

One of the first fellows of Ursinus’s Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, Paris is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Princeton. Her research involves the development and mechanistic evaluation of alloy catalysts active in electroreduction of carbon dioxide, particularly focusing on generation of multi-carbon products.

Paris is a senior fellow for the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP) and is a founding co-host of ISGP’s The Forum podcast. She recently consulted on a Department of Defense climate change impact assessment project and was selected as a Princeton Energy and Climate Scholar.

“I interpret my selection as evidence that being a civically engaged scientist is something to be proud of and commended,” Paris said. “This hasn’t always been the case. Academics have often been discouraged, whether formally or informally, from participating in the sorts of extracurricular work that have made me unique as a scientist—things like science communication and science policy. But if someone like me, who balances those activities alongside a full-time job as a graduate student, is being recognized as an outstanding chemist, then maybe that’s validation that scientists can and should explore these atypical fields, whether as extracurriculars or even careers.”

To read Paris’s profile on the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists, visit the IUPAC website and click “Potassium.” —By Ed Moorhouse