27 May 2022. Brought to you by Bethany Stansby.

Kan Ma

What is your current job? 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Birmingham

Why you chose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

I have liked science since I was a child and wanted to become a scientist. I found my passion in Material Science during my undergraduate studies. 

What made you choose a career in MSE?  

I did a Nuclear Engineering undergraduate degree and master’s degree. I learned some courses of metallurgy and discovered my interest in this field. So I did a PhD in metallurgy (metallic alloys) and began my career in this field. 

What is your research about?

Each alloy has its own gene (composition, microstructure) and its own characters (its strength, hardness and other performance).  

My research is about studying the relation between the microstructure of a material (like studying the cells of a human body) and the properties of materials (like the strength, weight, looks of a person). This knowledge will help material engineers to improve the performance of existing materials and better design new materials for a specific purposes. 

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?  

Using an advanced microscope to “image” atoms. 

What do you see yourself doing in the future?  

I aim to find a research position in a leading university or research centre, or the Research & Development (R&D) department of an enterprise company to carry on the research in materials. 

What is your favourite material (and why)? 

High-Entropy Alloys (HEAs) are a new class of materials that have revolutionised the traditional alloy-design strategy, which is over 5000 years old. They are promising to provide performances but their development and understanding bring great challenges for material scientists. 

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?  

Have more fun in your life!

Links to Kan’s external webpages: