August 25, 2022
Hao Chen grew up in a small village outside Shanghai, China. While earning his bachelor’s degree at Zhenghou University, he saw people do experiments with gasses. The experiments intrigued him and Chen went on to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. A scholarship allowed him to study in Vienna, Austria for one year.
Chen joined Berkeley Lab in January 2020 as a postdoctoral researcher working in Material Sciences under Miquel Salmeron.
What was it like studying in Austria after living your entire life in China?
In China, every student was working so hard. We would have to go to the lab six days a week. In Austria, the lab was closed on weekends. All my colleagues in Austria would go home at 6 p.m. on weekdays. That never happened in China.
What are you concentrating on at the Lab?
My research here focuses on materials to speed up a chemical reaction. Our research is fundamental research. I examine metal oxide. We want to see what is happening when it catalyzes a chemical reaction. The reaction is happening on the surface of the catalyst. You need to go to the nanoscale to know what is happening.
What activities are you interested in outside the Lab?
I was very interested in bicycling in China and Austria. I have not had a chance to try it in the United States. I did long journeys in China, 1000 kilometers. It would take about a week. For cyclists, uphill and downhill is our fun.