My research will allow scientists to utilise carbon dioxide as a carbon source for the production of valuable chemicals

Dr Leah Matsinha, Chemistry researcher

February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We speak to some of our researchers who tell us why they became interested in working in science.

Dr Leah Charlie Matsinha is a Research Fellow in Homogenous Catalysis at the University of South Wales. Leah has won several awards in recognition of her research career, including the Future Leaders: African Independent Researcher (FLAIR) Fellowship awarded by the Royal Society, and the Arthur E. Martell Early Career Researcher Prize.

What is it about science that you love?

"I love science because there is always something to discover, solve or improve, and with each discovery more mysteries are revealed. I am highly inquisitive - each time we discover new things, we realise we know nothing at all. For me, that is intriguing.

Tell us about your current research

"I am working on a project that focuses on the activation of carbon dioxide using transition metal complexes. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing due to anthropogenic activities. These growing levels have several consequences such as increased effects of climate change and lowering the Ocean acidification (pH).

"Carbon dioxide is a very stable gas and for scientists to come up with ways to valorize it, it needs to be activated. My project focuses on this aspect and, if successful, this will allow scientists around the world to utilise carbon dioxide as a carbon source for the production of valuable chemicals, while dealing with an environmental problem.

"It’s a great project. I am working with a diverse team of like-minded and talented scientists whom I get to share knowledge and ideas with on a daily basis. What is more, I get to see and observe my chemistry at a molecular level. This is a level of magnification where, if we were 'zoomed into' at that level, we would see the molecules themselves."