Yuting Qian

Yuting Qian comes from the Hebei province in China. As an undergraduate, she majored in Condensed Matter Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and applied for the INSPIRE Potentials grant after being told about it by her supervisor. At EPFL, she worked in the lab of Professor Oleg Yazyev, carrying out research on condensed matter theory and computation, trying to find new topological materials from first principle calculations as well as new properties of some known materials. She was drawn to EPFL she says because of the opportunity to learn from many talented peers and professors including their ways of thinking and attitudes to science. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and watching movies. 

Interview by Carey Sargent, EPFL, NCCR MARVEL

Have you always been interested in science?

Actually, I've always liked mathematics, physics and computers and I think computational physics is a good combination of all three of them. Mathematics can use simple formulas to solve many difficult things that can't be solved through imagination. Both mathematics and physics are objective existence: I like the logical thinking process and the amazing results derived from them. Programming also needs complex logical thinking. From a simple calculation I can solve some difficult problems and it can give me an understanding of a physical essence.  

What was the best part of the project?

Every day the research is fresh, I came across a lot of strange problems. I look at them and try to acquire new knowledge and methods to solve them. I think the process is flexible and this makes me feel free and young. There are different ways to solve the problem from different perspectives and it can give me different angles to understand the physical problems. I like the process.

There is a proverb in China — "with man and woman working together, they don't feel tired."

Do you think it's important to have more women in science?

There is a proverb in China — "with man and woman working together, they don't feel tired." I think that with more women, we could be more efficient and get some unexpected good results. And on the other side, it also represents equality of man and woman. 

What advice do you have for other young women interested in science?

I think if you like science, do your best. You will achieve your best as long as you work hard.