On this International Women's Day the world is celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. We thought this is a perfect timing for our awesome Research Leader Marjukka Tuominen to share her experience working in the fascinating field of nanoscience.
Tell us what are your typical tasks and responsibilities as a Research Leader at Comptek?
"My tasks are quite versatile; I manage customer projects, conduct research (which apart from office work includes operating various equipment in our lab), and develop our unique semiconductor passivation technology, Kontrox - I believe it will make a significant contribution to the future of electronics! I also keep track of current innovations in the field of semiconductors (which are plenty) and have tasks related to company’s environmental and social management, which I find very interesting and important too. It's cool that in a start up your actual tasks do not have to be limited to your job title – you can make impact beyond that."
Describe your path to your current position. Is applied physics/nanotechnology something you always wanted to work with? Why?
"Thinking in retrospect, I'm not surprised to find myself working with physics and nanotechnology; natural sciences, scales beyond human senses and nature in general have been always close to my heart. I knew pretty early on that I would like to pursue a career in natural sciences and considered different professions, e.g. pharmacist. I guess curiosity and willingness to expand the limits of human knowledge have affected my path in science and finally brought me where I am now. I got particularly interested in semiconductors while working on my Master's thesis at the University of Turku, and by the time Kontrox was discovered, I knew I wanted to dedicate my research to it."
"It has been wonderful to discover that research- and career opportunities in this field are wider than I had ever imagined! After receiving basic training in applied physics, you can continue your professional journey working on countless interesting topics."
Nanotechnology in the field of physics is still a very male-dominated industry; how do you feel building your career in this field as a woman?
"I am aware of the gender imbalance in this field, but to me, the gender of my colleagues or friends is of little importance, and I believe it’s the same for them. Just like in any other industry – knowledge, skills, and professionalism have nothing to do with gender. And what comes to teamwork, for example, it’s your personality and attitude that matter the most. "
What do you enjoy the most working in the field of nanotechnology? "To me, finding something never found before is absolutely fetching. Also, it is truly intriguing to see how the physics laws work differently in nanoscale compared to our daily lives, and how the nature can be described with a language of science. And, of course, it's fascinating to realize that the "tiny" developments and findings made in the nanoscale can have a substantial positive impact on various aspects of our lives!"
And finally, what is your advice to women pursuing a career in applied science/nanotechnology?
"No matter what career path you choose - stay positive and remain yourself despite the challenges and stereotypes that might surface along the way! :)"