Sal Baxamusa

Materials Science Division

June 1, 2020

What do you like about working at the Lab?

Every day I’m learning something new, and often it is something that nobody ever knew before.

What is one project you’re really proud to have worked on?

In 2013, I was part of a team that developed a method to fabricate the ultra-thin, tough, free-standing polymer sheets. Think of it like the world’s thinnest plastic wrap. The method for making it came in a late-afternoon flash, and it worked so well that we completed development in a few short days. It was a real lesson that developing subject matter expertise over the course of years can lead to ultra-productive bursts of scientific work. And it was cool that our research was tweeted out by the Undersecretary of Energy!

What is your educational and career background?

I have a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT and came to the Lab after completing an academic postdoc. I’ve worked at the Lab for 9 years.

What do your day-to-day work activities include?

Scientists and engineers have a reputation for being antisocial, but a big part of my day involves communicating. Whether it’s talking to team members to flesh out an experimental plan, formulating hypotheses for results we don’t understand, or just trying to learn something new, communicating is a big part of my day.

What advice would you give to a new employee at the Lab?

Take the good with the bad, and remember that day-to-day frustrations are outweighed by getting to work on some of the coolest projects around. (I have to remind myself of this constantly, even after nearly a decade.)

What do you do in your free time?

I’m your run-of-the-mill nerdy suburban dad. I like reading science fiction, listening to music, watching baseball, and hanging out with my family.

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