Olga Sedelnikova, a graduate of the NSU`s Department of Physics, won the 2021 L’Oréal-UNESCO «For Women in Science» award. She is currently a Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Nanomaterials at the Nikolaeva Institute of Inorganic Chemistry SB RAS. The Competition is for women in science who are under the age of 35 and working in Russian scientific institutes and universities in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, or biology. Winners receive a 500,000 rubles scholarship.
Sedelnikova talked about how her scientific career began,
I can’t say that I was fond of science as a child. However, I graduated fr om the Novosibirsk Aerospace Lyceum wh ere there is a specialization in technical sciences. I have always liked Physics and Chemistry, so I decided to go to NSU to study Physics. I don't regret the choice I made after school. Many thanks to my Physics teacher V. V. Yuzenas and Chemistry teacher S. V. Vetokhin for awakening my interest in science and giving me an excellent base!
A Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Sedelnikova is currently focusing on materials science, in particular, the study of the electromagnetic properties of carbon nanomaterials. According to her, even a slight distortion in the structure of a nanomaterial can radically change its properties. For example, it can shift the main absorption region making it possible for a material that absorbs in the UV region to be used for photovoltaics. Also, if you change the organization of nanoparticles in the matrix, you can get a material that selectively absorbs or reflects electromagnetic radiation in the desired frequency range.
What attracts me most to science is the rapid pace of development and the process of research itself. Usually there is no guaranteed result so science always challenges your knowledge and creative possibilities. You get the greatest pleasure when the puzzle has taken shape. For example, you manage to understand the mechanism of the process or explain why something did not work out. Of course, like any scientist, I am very happy when an article is accepted for publication. This represents the results of a huge amount of work from a large team. Another exciting thing about scientific work is it provides an opportunity to see the world, communicate, and work with a wide range of interesting people.
The «For Women in Science» program in Russia is part of a L’OREAL-UNESCO international project. It has existed since 1998 and is implemented with the participation of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the UNESCO Commission of the Russian Federation in Moscow. The purpose of the award is to improve the position of women in science by recognizing outstanding female researchers who have contributed to science.