Shyam Dwaraknath


Ph.D. Nuclear Engineering, University of Michigan

B.S. Nuclear Engineering/EECS, University of California at Berkeley


I’ve been at the Lab for three years, working in Energy Storage and Distribution. As a child, my dad and I would complete electronics kits and take apart perfectly functioning devices to understand how they worked from an early age. My mom put up with our nonsense and on occasion, even encouraged it. I enjoy long distance running, motorcycles, rock climbing, and snowboarding.

Three Questions

1. How does your work contribute to the Lab’s mission?

My research enables the Lab to use new materials to create revolutionary solutions to energy problems such as developing new lead-free piezoelectric materials to eliminate lead from implantable medical devices, fuel injectors, and a whole host of actuators.

2. What is your biggest scientific challenge?

In most of my work, I’m the glue between theorists and experimentalists, data scientists, and domain scientists, software engineers, and scientists, etc. My biggest challenges are effectively speaking all of these languages, demonstrating proficiency to earn people’s trust, keeping up with the ridiculously fast pace of science and technology, and doing all this while having sufficient perspective to develop solutions.

3. Who has been the biggest professional influence in your life, and why?

My current boss and advisor Kristin Persson. She built the Materials Project on the same foundation that she runs her group with an open flow of information, ideas, and effort. It makes a huge difference in how we work together, how we collaborate with other groups and even how we work with other institutions.