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C&EN's Talented 12

Whether they’re tracking pollutants in the Arctic or proteins inside cells, these rising stars are fearlessly taking on some of the world’s most daunting problems

Welcome to C&EN’s annual Talented 12 issue. This is our fifth year highlighting path-paving young scientists tackling the world’s toughest problems with clever chemistry. Each year, it gets harder to narrow the vast pool of nominees down to just 12; each year, we marvel at how past honorees continue to push the boundaries of research.

In this feature, you’ll meet the Talented 12 class of 2019. These brilliant chemists are turning discarded waste into valuable chemicals, investigating the chemistry and biology of breast milk, wresting control of complex emulsions, and polishing semiconductors to angstrom-level smoothness.

Whether they’re tracking pollutants in the Arctic or proteins inside cells, these rising stars are fearlessly taking on some of the world’s most daunting problems

Welcome to C&EN’s annual Talented 12 issue. This is our fifth year highlighting path-paving young scientists tackling the world’s toughest problems with clever chemistry. Each year, it gets harder to narrow the vast pool of nominees down to just 12; each year, we marvel at how past honorees continue to push the boundaries of research.

In this feature, you’ll meet the Talented 12 class of 2019. These brilliant chemists are turning discarded waste into valuable chemicals, investigating the chemistry and biology of breast milk, wresting control of complex emulsions, and polishing semiconductors to angstrom-level smoothness.

Stats & Facts

C&EN has gathered details about our outstanding early-career scientists

Millennial class

The average age of this year’s Talented 12 is 33.8.

Top chef

We’ve been told to never trust the lab skills of a scientist that can’t cook. Our Talented 12 say this idea is:

True!
Loren Andreas:
Bangladeshi kacchi biryani
Frank Leibfarth:
Homemade sauces, including ragù and pesto
Steven D. Townsend:
Smoked meat: brisket, shoulder, ribs

Mostly True
Peng Zou:
Braised pork and oxtail soup

Number of
peer-reviewed papers
published
284
Number of
patents
filed
27
Number of
languages
spoken
9
English, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish
Surprising skills

Beyond their scientific chops, our Talented 12 have some musical and athletic talents up their sleeves.

Loren Andreas: Violin
Katelyn Billings: Softball
Michelle Lynn Hall: Dance
Markita Landry: Wrestling
Frank Leibfarth: Football
Tina Li: Cello, piano
Brenda Rubenstein: Running, soccer, lacrosse
William Tarpeh: Cello
Steven D. Townsend: Drums, football
Cora Young: Flute
Lauren Zarzar: Violin  and piano
Peng Zou: Running
 
Travel styles

Early-career researchers spend a lot of time on the road. We asked the Talented 12 about their airport habits.

This year’s group has crossed time zones for career advancement
Hometown
Current Location
  1. Loren Andreas
  2. Katelyn Billings
  3. Michelle Lynn Hall
  4. Markita Landry
  5. Frank Leibfarth
  6. Tina Li
  7. Brenda Rubenstein
  8. William Tarpeh
  9. Steven D. Townsend
  10. Cora Young
  11. Lauren Zarzar
  12. Peng Zou

Key

  1. Loren Andreas
  2. Katelyn Billings
  3. Michelle Lynn Hall
  4. Markita Landry
  5. Frank Leibfarth
  6. Tina Li
  7. Brenda Rubenstein
  8. William Tarpeh
  9. Steven D. Townsend
  10. Cora Young
  11. Lauren Zarzar
  12. Peng Zou
Credit: C&EN/Shutterstock

Our 2019 selection process

To assemble this list, we consulted our staff, C&EN’s advisory board, and Talented 12 alumni. And we were inundated with hundreds of nominations from readers through an online form. We’ve spent most of 2019 sorting through these remarkable candidates to come up with this year’s outstanding group. These luminaries will surely dazzle the chemistry community in the years ahead.

Talented 12 contributors

Site and page design by Tchad K. Blair and Robert Bryson

Profile illustrations by Robert Bryson

Research graphics by Yang H. Ku and Will Ludwig

Production by Sabrina J. Ashwell, Melissa T. Gilden, Manny I. Fox Morone, Alexandra A. Taylor, and Marsha-Ann Watson

Profiles written by Celia Henry Arnaud, Katherine Bourzac, Ryan Cross, Matt Davenport, Bethany Halford, Laura Howes, Lisa M. Jarvis, Sam Lemonick, and Michael Torrice

Editing and project oversight by Bethany Halford and Lisa M. Jarvis

About Funding Support

C&EN editorial staff produced this feature with funding from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., which did not influence any editorial decisions.

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Profiles

Talented 12

Whether they’re tracking pollutants in the Arctic or proteins inside cells, these rising stars are fearlessly taking on some of the world’s most daunting problems

by CEN Staff
August 25, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 33

09733-cover1-herocxd.jpg
Credit: C&EN

COVER STORY

Talented 12

Talented 12 contributors

Site and page design by Tchad K. Blair and Robert Bryson

Profile illustrations by Robert Bryson

Research graphics by Yang H. Ku and Will Ludwig

Production by Sabrina J. Ashwell, Melissa T. Gilden, Manny I. Fox Morone, Alexandra A. Taylor, and Marsha-Ann Watson

Editing and project oversight by Bethany Halford and Lisa M. Jarvis

ABOUT FUNDING SUPPORT

C&EN editorial staff produced this feature with funding from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., which did not influence any editorial decisions.

Welcome to C&EN’s annual Talented 12 issue. This is our fifth year highlighting path-paving young scientists tackling the world’s toughest problems with clever chemistry. Each year, it gets harder to narrow the vast pool of nominees down to just 12; each year, we marvel at how past honorees continue to push the boundaries of research.

In this feature, you’ll meet the Talented 12 class of 2019. These brilliant chemists are turning discarded waste into valuable chemicals, investigating the chemistry and biology of breast milk, wresting control of complex emulsions, and polishing semiconductors to angstrom-level smoothness.

Our 2019 selection process

To assemble this list, we consulted our staff, C&EN’s advisory board, and Talented 12 alumni. And we were inundated with hundreds of nominations from readers through an online form. We’ve spent most of 2019 sorting through these remarkable candidates to come up with this year’s outstanding group. These luminaries will surely dazzle the chemistry community in the years ahead.

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