Hi Frictonless!

Me, Myself, and I…soprene Hi all! My name is Victoria. I’m physics graduate student and recovering engineer living in Berlin. I grew up mainly in my family’s native country of Singapore, but consider myself an American, and am still workshopping a straightforward answer to “where are you from.”

In my past life I worked in materials QA testing; currently, I’m at the German Aerospace Centre designing laser systems in the THz range - a type of non-visible light that hangs out on the electromagnetic spectrum between infrared and microwave. The field is growing crazy fast, and THz has loads of application potential - from tissue imaging to security screening to cool space stuff.

Space lasers imply some solid sci-fi villain credentials, but (unfortunately?) I use this radiation quite benignly - to study human breath. Exhaled breath contains thousands trace compounds, isoprene or acetone for example, subject to a high degree of variation based off genetics, health, exposure to pollutants, etc. and due to the complexity of these gases, we’re always looking for better ways to (quantify ) and map the distribution of molecules. Together with researches at Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, I build tools to help specialists understand human lung disorders. Like COPD… and maybe soon even COVID-19! But thats another conversation.

In my civilian life, I enjoy sleeping outside, wikipedia rabbit holes, making music, talking about feelings, and squeezing unsuspecting street cats.

Open what? My Open Science journey has just begun and I’m stoked! I started to get interested in topics around data transparency and accessibility after a series of escalating frustrations with information dynamics in medical technology, beginning in my own field of gas sensing, then discovering similar disparities in tangential fields.

Questioning the institution of science, however, can be daunting, as the process doesn’t have a baked-in culture of internal scrutiny. I’ve only recently started wondering, for example, why my group relies heavily on expensive proprietary software, why knowledge is privatised behind pay-walls, why we don’t often discuss how the replication crisis affects not only the social sciences, but in physics and chemistry too.

Through Frictionless, I’m excited to get the chance to engage with these topics - on a systemic level for sure, but also as an individual. I hope to learn to make better decisions about my research and data, as well as engage with opportunities to facilitate interdisciplinary cross-pollination and engage in open and transparent science communication. Looking forward to the next 9 months on this journey!