Life Is an Experiment – You Are the Result

Sabrina de Boer (ESR9)

My name is Sabrina de Boer or, speaking in numbers, ESR 9.

I’m 26 years old, and grew up on Norderney, a German island in the North Sea.

Now, I am a PhD researcher in Santiago de Compostela since September 2019, working on the removal of ≤5 antibiotics from wastewater by enzymes (and possibly photocatalysts) immobilized on magnetic nanoparticles (diameter about 0.000001 cm).

Throughout my youth, I have had the opportunity to travel around Europe with my family.

I could stare out of the car/train/plane window for hours, fascinated by our colorful environment, by all the things that surround us every day.

I remember when science teachers at school told us that the complexity of things, processes and structures, goes beyond what we can see with our own eyes.

So, I became curious about what lies behind the visible and I decided to study chemistry.

I moved away from home, to Frankfurt, known for its modern skyscrapers and large airport, but loved for its hidden originality.

Spending long days in the lab and some tough nights in studying theoretical chemistry was really not that bad thanks to my study partners who soon became my friends.

I realized that working together with people who support you helps you to understand what your path is.

During my studies, I could not really relate to the research topics proposed by my faculty, so I did my master’s thesis at the DECHEMA research institute in Frankfurt.

Although my thesis was not directly related to environmental restoration, the knowledge I gained there was very useful for my current work.

Only after completing my internship at the chair of environmental analysis of my university I realized that I could connect my work with real environmental issues.

In particular, I became aware of a potentially carcinogenic substance present in surface and drinking water.

Unfortunately, many other compounds have been present in wastewater and subsequently in drinking water for decades, but they have only recently been detected by advanced analytical technologies.

I cannot believe that action against such obvious contamination of our drinking water is being taken so slowly.
Therefore, I want to help protect our water from this flood of harmful substances that are emerging from our current way of life.

Writing this brief summary of what I have done so far, reveals to me that you can always find purpose and sense in your decisions you took. Otherwise you wouldn’t be where you are now.

You are the set of your choices, of the directions you followed in a precise moment of your life.

Every choice is like the beginning of an experiment: you never know the outcome and it is not necessarily true that whatever direction you take this will help you achieve your original goal.

There may be changes along the way, but the important thing is that you can justify to yourself why you are changing.

My motivation is to work with inspiring people who are driven by the achievement of their ideals, to create solutions for cleaner water for us and future generations.