Pablo Garrido Barros, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Antoni Llobet (ICIQ), has defended his PhD Thesis entitled “Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysts Based on Copper and Nickel Complexes” (assigned to the Inorganic and Physical Chemistry Department of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on November 2nd at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Marc Robert (Université Paris Diderot), Agustí Lledós (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona), Jorge Andrés Rodriguez Navarro (Universidad de Granada)
Dr. Garrido studied Chemical Engineering in Granada, his hometown. He visited ICIQ for the first time in 2012 as a summer fellow, and since then he has completed his masters in “Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Design” and his PhD studies, where he has combined experimental as well as computational chemistry. Garrido enjoys dancing, especially salsa and bachata, playing guitar and ukulele, and is a keen basketball player.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
My generation has lived a lot of revolutions: the internet, computers, electric cars, smartphones, etc. These technologic revolutions have inspired me, I want to be part of it and help build the future. I think that’s what made me study science because it’s the basis of the future. People tend to think technological changes, as in computers and that stuff, will help make a better future, but to me, it’s chemistry the field that holds a bigger promise of a better tomorrow. To me, chemistry has much to contribute to making our planet safer, it’s the science with more potential to bring solutions to important issues such as global warming.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
You need to be passionate about what you are doing! Working in chemistry, doing a PhD is very hard work. From all the things you try out in the lab, only 20% of them work out, so you need to be very passionate about what you are doing because otherwise, you will get upset quite often. You also need to learn from your mistakes, because if 80% of the stuff does not work as you thought it would, you need to understand why, to learn from it so that your mistakes help you improve.
What ICIQ moment you´ll never forget?
We were celebrating the ICIQ Christmas party and there were two competitions: singing and cooking. Together with a friend who also worked at ICIQ we entered the cooking competition and decided to bake a “roscón de Reyes” because we were supposed to prepare festive dishes. While we were preparing it, some things went wrong. The result wasn’t very bad, so we decided to still join the competition because we thought there would be other dishes and no one would care about ours. So, we went and discovered we were the only participants! There was a lot of people from outside Spain who had never eaten “roscón de Reyes” and they ended up eating all of it while telling us how good it was!
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I want an academic career. I like industry too, but I feel there’s more freedom to do what you are interested in in academia. I want my work to contribute help solve climate change, I think it’s one of humanity’s biggest problems and we need a solution fast. So, my next step will be to do a postdoc, although I am still not sure yet where I will go, I’d like to go to the USA. With a bit of luck, next year I’ll be working very far away from home.