From dark matter to 'dark matter' - Dr Xinran Liu (UNDO)

Entrepreneurship event

From dark matter to 'dark matter' - Dr Xinran Liu (UNDO)

  • Event time: 9:30am until 11:00am
  • Event date: 2nd December 2024
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)

Event details

My journey to becoming the Director of Science and Research for the leading carbon sequestration company – UNDO was not a straightforward one. I spent over a decade in some of the deepest mines in the world constructing large-scale detectors in the quest to find the most abundant matter in the universe. Working with nearly 300 collaborators, we got very good at building detectors which in succession were the best detectors in the world at not finding Dark Matter. Meanwhile, the planet upon which we buried our detectors grew increasingly warmer, as the levels of greenhouse gases rose unabated due to human activities. I have long believed climate change is the existential crisis of our time, and despite efforts in the UK Astro-particle physics community, very little was being done beyond acknowledging the facts. It was perfect timing that upon the press release of the first results from the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), which became the world’s most sensitive Dark Matter detector, the post for a Head of Science and Research for UNDO appeared. It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life to leave everything familiar and delve into the world of a new form of dark matter – basalt.

In this talk, I will discuss my career journey so far, the experience of transitioning from academia into a different field in industry, and the general and technical joys and challenges of leading a science, research, and innovation team working to deliver cutting-edge research whilst developing one of the most advanced geochemical models in the enhanced rock weathering field.

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