Priyam Patel

Degrees

Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, UCI, 2020 expected

M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, UCI, 2017

B.S., Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, 2012

Research

Cephalopod-inspired color changing wearables

Biography

Priyam is a doctoral student in Prof. Alon Gorodetsky’s laboratory in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.  Priyam’s research aims to develop a stealth suit straight out of sci-fi. To do this, he experiments with thin films of ceramics, metals, and plastics to make a flexible device that changes color like octopus skin.  Eventually, he plans to put it into clothing and make it machine washable. Before joining UCI, Priyam worked on microfluidics, astrophysics, cryogenics, and solar windows. Priyam’s other interests include music, anime, and natural history.  

Why is science communication important to you?

Nobody cares if nobody understands.  I learned this intimately after past attempts at explaining what I do to friends outside my field.  But understanding is not enough to make someone care. Consider The Magic School Bus. With gripping visual narratives in both print and television, this series didn’t just educate; it targeted my sense of wonder.  A big reason that I am here is that strong science programs like that appealed to my imagination. This is what I strive for as a science communicator.  My mission is to inspire both future STEM students as well as curious folks without science degrees who just want to learn more about their world. Reaching both these audiences is critical to pushing science forward.