Welcome to the Verge of Discovery! My name is Evgeniy Shishkin (Ev) and I’m the host of Verge of Discovery podcast. I would like to tell you about myself and why I decided to create this podcast.
My passion in the field of science and technology started at an early age. It all started with my love of math back in elementary school. My best friend at the time, Albert, was also very passionate about math. We started to compete on every homework assignment and even started to meet up after school to see who can solve math problems first, even if none were assigned. Our competitive spirit then took us to other subjects. We started to work with computers and built our first personal desktops by the age of 12. I remember creating my first Flash animation for my mom’s birthday instead of making a simple card like the other kids. By middle school me and Albert split up and he ended up going to a private school with Math and Computer Science emphasis and I went to a private school with Science emphasis. This is when my focus shifted towards math and science. I remember spending summers with my grandparents and going to the public library and reading books on a number of topics that I didn’t quite understand at the time. My grandpa was the biggest influence on me at that time, he was very well read and his wisdom motivated me to learn even more. He encouraged me to keep a journal and I ended up reading 15-20 books over the summer. Those were the good old days.
That’s my grandpa on the right with my little brother and that’s me on the left learning where not to stand when barbecuing.
My high school years were very typical. I went to a public high school and was somewhat bored with the course work. I enjoyed math, chemistry, biology and physics and started to look into engineering for my future degree going into a university.
I decided to study chemical engineering at Kansas State University. This is when my passion for science really started to grow and develop. I joined undergraduate research program and started to help graduate students with their research efforts. This is when I started to realize how little I really knew about anything. My first two years I worked in the chemistry department working on superhydrophobic surfaces using various polymers. This research was fascinating and I met lots of very intelligent graduate students. My junior year I switched to the chemical engineering research department and started to work with gallium nitride substrates (stuff in your LEDs :)). I remember spending lots of time in a small room with a nitrogen furnace by myself. This certainly wasn’t glorious work but that’s how research usually is. I experienced lots of failures and only a very small number of successes through experimentation all three years of being involved in undergraduate research. I wouldn’t trade these years for anything else in the world. I learned the lesson of perseverance and realized that discovering anything, even the smallest of things, is never easy.
“There is no substitute for hard work.”
Thomas A. Edison
My biggest success came my senior year during our group research project working with graphene. As you might have heard graphene is the new “miracle” material and a hot topic in material science and electronics. Our group was successful at showing functionality of the first graphene humidity sensor. This was a great accomplishment for us and the look on our professors face the moment we broke the news was priceless. This was my biggest A-ha moment and it was absolutely awesome. Here is the list of published papers on my research endeavors:
I had a job offer lined up a year before graduation and with some convincing from my parents ended up taking the job and starting a new career path. I ended up working for a large corporation and at this point in time my research endeavors have diminished. I started spending my free time reading online science and tech websites. I wanted something more personal, something that didn’t include just reading about the latest tech gadgets and toys but about the latest developments in the field that eventually lead to those new gadgets and toys.
This is when the idea for Verge of Discovery podcast came about. I found a natural void in personal connection and knowledge share between worlds brightest minds and general population like me and many of our listeners. I decided to create it. I wanted curious minds like mine to tune and be inspired by the newest discoveries and learn from our guests. I also wanted to provide a springboard for our guest to share their projects with others through the power of a podcast. I know me personally, I would have loved if my favorite professors had an episode I could have listened back in college to learn more about them and their research. I wanted to provide this service and bring all knowledge seekers, students, professors and experts together under one community.
I hope this provides enough of a background on my life and why I decided to bring this podcast to you.
Please feel free to subscribe below or email me with any questions, ideas or guest references. All input is greatly appreciated.
Keep up your great work and get ready to approach the verge of discovery!