From the electronic nose to the popularization of science

This year’s receiver of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Artrūrs Balklavs Name Award for an outstanding popularization of science is the ISSP UL’s scientist, Dr. phys. Līga Grīnberga. A story about her work and achievements was shown in the National TV morning program “Rīta panorama” (Morning Panorama) and published in the Latvian Academy of Sciences newspaper “Zinātnes Vēstnesis” (Science Herald).

Līga started her work in science with the creation of an electronic nose (e-nose) and hydrogen research, but now her main duty is to inform the public about the achievements of her colleagues. She confesses that she did not intend to become a scientist. In fact, she wanted to be a lawyer.

"When I came to Riga to enrol on the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia, the queue of applicants was very long. As I lived quite far from Riga, I had a bus to catch, and it seemed unrealistic to stand in the queue and manage on time for the bus. So, I wandered to where they accepted physics studies applications. There was no queue, and my school grades allowed me to enroll without entrance exams," Līga remembers the beginning of her career.

At that time, the profession of a physicist was not very prestigious. However, she does not regret this unexpected turn of fate. The work at the ISSP UL fascinated her, and she wanted to tell others about her work.

"When I started working at the institute, I began promoting my work, which, in the beginning, was the e-nose. We participated in various exhibitions and competed with beer tasters, who had a subjective opinion, but the e-nose had an objective one. We compared whether the winning variety differed in any way according to electronic measurements," Līga remembers.

Meanwhile, during her doctoral studies, Līga began to study hydrogen and its properties: “Hydrogen is one of the topics that I could talk about again and again because it is the energy of the future. Oil is running out; something must be done – and here is the opportunity!"

Currently, the scientist has no time for research, as her main duty is to inform the public about the achievements of her colleagues while working in the Information and Communication Department. Colleagues describe her as a very energetic, positive person who is in her place. Still, Līga recognizes that she will return to work in the laboratory sooner or later. She has always liked to measure, analyze, and discover things.

"I am fascinated that you can be a part of a huge cogwheel, of a huge system, and your small discovery can lead to something very big and good in the future. You see things that no one else has seen before you, synthesize the material, and in my case, the material absorbs hydrogen more than it should - it’s wonderful," admits the scientist.

The full “Science Herald” article in Latvian

The video story in Latvian