Australian Science Superheroes – Samantha Hood

During National Science Week in August 2016, Australia’s Chief Scientist launched the #5ScientistPledge to recognise Australian Scientists. Now, we’re shining a light on some of these Australian science superheroes with a new tag – #AusScienceHeroes

Check back regularly for new profiles!

Samantha Hood
PhD Student
ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems, The University of Queensland
@PaleBlueSam

1) What is your science superpower?

Solar power is our largest source of clean, renewable energy. I write code to model how electrons move in plastic solar materials. We don’t really understand much about how current flows in plastics, but if we did, we could create super-efficient, flexible, lightweight, printable and cheap solar panels!

2) The year is 2030. How has life changed as a result of your research?

My research has resulted in a better understanding of how electrons behave in plastics. Solar power is cheaper than ever—people have solar panels on cars, gadgets, walls and windows. We have used my research to create artificial plants that absorb carbon dioxide, and create electricity and oxygen!

3) What drew you to science in the first place?

I spent a lot of time in nature as a kid, and I’ve always wanted to help the environment. My high school maths teacher bribed me with chocolate to do extra homework, so I also developed a love of complex problem solving. Science allowed me to combine these passions! Working on renewable technology is a dream come true.

4)When you’re not wearing your science superhero cape, what do you get up to?

I love relaxing by baking—my specialty is macarons. Camping is another thing I love—I’m so happy to spend a weekend in a National park near Brisbane and enjoy roasted marshmallows. I definitely have a sweet tooth.