Alicia Martínez, PhD student under the supervision of Prof Anton Vidal (ICIQ), has virtually defended her PhD thesis entitled “The Hydroformylation Reaction: from Covalent to Supramolecular Approaches and Operando Kinetic Studies” (assigned to the Analytical and Organic Chemistry Department of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on July 13th.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Christian Müller (Freie Universität Berlin), Prof. Beatriu Escuder (Universidad Jaume I) and Prof. José Ramón Galán Mascarós (ICIQ).
Dr. Martínez was born in Albacete and studied Chemistry in the Castilla la Mancha University – and thanks to an Erasmus scholarship did a stay at Vienna University. She holds a Master in Organic Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid. During her PhD, she stayed at the Jordi Burés’ group in the Manchester University thanks to a Research Mobility Grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a proud manchega, scout, cheese lover and traveller.
Why did you become a scientist?
Since I was young, scientific subjects stood out to me because they helped me understand the world around me. As I grew, I had more and more questions and the answers were more complex. That is why I wanted to study science: to understand the world at all levels.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Learning to manage time is particularly important during the doctorate. It’s also very important to talk to co-workers about the research you’re doing since other people’s experiences and points of view can help you solve problems or give you a different perspective.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
I will miss the breakfast time with the group, the teatime with the Indians of the ICIQ (Bala, Suba, Asmaul and Rajesh) and the days working late in the laboratory with reggaeton music. I will miss being in contact with people from so many different places and cultures.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
The thesis is a long-distance race and it is important to find a balance between life outside and inside the laboratory. Bad results are going to be part of your day-to-day and it is important to know how to overcome them. The best remedy for this is to unwind with friends after a hard day in the laboratory.
Where are you going next?
First of all, I will enjoy the summer. Then, I would like to change from academy to industry.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
Without a doubt, I would be a high-pressure reactor, I owe my thesis to them. This equipment withstands pressure under harsh working conditions: just like PhD students!