When Takian Fakhrul was a young girl, her father, then a graduate student in materials science at the University of Manchester, would bring her along to his lab. During these visits, she would peek at structures under the microscopes or watch him polish newly synthesized materials. And she just couldn’t seem to stay silent.
“I used to ask a lot of questions,” says Fakhrul, who is now a fourth-year PhD student in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “My dad tells me that I was a super-curious child.”
Fakhrul’s curiosity blossomed further when she was an undergraduate at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in her hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Conversations with her father, who was then a materials science professor there, figured heavily into her decision to major in the same field. They talked about pressing scientific problems, like the limits of existing materials and breakthroughs in materials science that could “really affect the future of technology,” Fakhrul recalls.
Now, working in the lab of Caroline Ross, the Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Fakhrul researches how garnets can solve problems in photonics, the study of the technical applications of light.