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Dalhousie Graduate Studies: Innovatively renewable

A Q&A with physics grad student Eric Logan, who’s using small steps to make big change

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Dalhousie Graduate Studies: Innovatively renewable How Eric Logan is using small steps in order to make big change

Career Minded: As a graduate student in Physics, you're working with global thought leader Dr. Jeff Dahn, whose research is laying the groundwork for affordable renewable energy solutions. How does it make you feel to be part of something so important?

Eric Logan: Renewable energy is going to become more important over the next several years, and effective energy storage is a key piece of this puzzle. What we're doing is just a small part of the solution, but it feels good to be able to make even a small contribution to solving one of the big issues of our generation.

Dr. Dahn's battery research has resulted in an exclusive partnership with Tesla Motors. Is it exciting to be working on technology that could have an impact at one of the most important companies of our time?

Tesla has led much of the charge in terms of innovations in electric vehicles and making electric cars a competitive replacement for gas-powered. We're starting to see more companies get on board with electric vehicles—it's a very exciting time to be in the field.

Dr. Dahn won the Governor General's Innovation Award. How does it feel to work so closely someone at the leading edge of their field?

As Jeff Dahn always says, "the most important goal is to do work that's useful." It's incredible that he has been recognized for the amazing work he's done over the years. I think myself and everyone else in the lab are keen to continue this legacy and make more meaningful advancements in this field.

Can you describe the graduate school experience at Dal?

I've met a ton of great people over the last year at Dal. Everyone in my lab is extremely thoughtful and always willing to help out each other with their projects. I think the best part is that everyone, including the faculty and staff, all genuinely want to see you succeed, and will actively help you make that happen. This isn't to say it hasn't been difficult at times, but it's nice to know that everyone is on your side.

Some prospective graduate students might think they need to move to distant locations to work with leading scholars. Would you recommend taking a look a Dal before looking farther afield?

It's true that Dal may not be nearly as big as many of the big schools in Canada or the US, but the fact is that many of the "leading scholars" are right here in Halifax. The Hertzberg Gold Medal—which was awarded to Jeff Dahn this year—has been won by Dalhousie faculty 3 of the last 4 years. There really is some world-class research going on at Dalhousie, so I would absolutely recommend considering Dal as an option.

What will you do when you graduate?

When I finish my MSc, I plan on staying in Jeff Dahn's lab to do a PhD. I'll be continuing some of the work that I've been doing in my Masters.

What doors will be opened for you by your Dal MSc?

My MSc has given me the research experience and knowledge to start my PhD program with confidence. I've learned a lot in such a short amount of time, and I have to thank my supervisor for a large part of that.

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